A special rate variation allows a council to increase its general income above the rate peg, under the provisions of the Local Government Act 1993 (NSW).

Special variations can be for one or several years, and can be temporary or permanently retained in the rates base.

Each year, councils wishing to apply for a special variation apply to IPART in February. The applications are assessed against criteria listed in the Office of Local Government’s Guidelines. These include undertaking long term financial planning, ensuring community awareness of the need and extent of the proposed increase in rates, and consideration of the impact on ratepayers and the community’s capacity and willingness to pay. In addition, councils must meet criteria related to productivity improvements.

Details of each council’s current special variations and any pending applications that have been notified to IPART are available at Find your council or you can find out more details about special variations.

The Office of Local Government has issued Guidelines for assessing special rate variation applications for 2021-22.

The following Fact Sheets provide additional information on the special variation assessment process:

We have received notification letters indicating that the following councils in 2022-23 plan to apply for a:

  • Special Variation:
    • Central Coast Council
    • Hunters Hill Council
    • Snowy Valley Council
  • Increase to the Minimum Rate:
    • Cumberland Council

Council are not required to provide IPART with a notification letter. If the council does proceed with their application, we will publish their notification letters with the application received.  

Councils have until February 2022 to submit their special variation application and are currently undertaking community consultation on their special variation proposal.

Please contact your council to ensure that your concerns can be considered as part of its consultation on its proposed special variation application. IPART assesses how council has addressed the concerns of its ratepayers raised in community consultation in its final application.

IPART will undertake public consultation when the council has submitted its special variation application. Please let us know if you are interested in the this process via localgovernment@ipart.nsw.gov.au and we will notify you when this occurs.