The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) has released its decisions on 9 NSW council applications for special variations to increase their general income by more than the rate peg.

IPART Chair Carmel Donnelly said of the 9 Special Variation applications, the Tribunal had approved 5, approved a lower increase for 3 and declined one.

Two of the applications were combined with minimum rate increase applications. The Tribunal approved one of these applications and approved a lower increase for the other.

“These decisions are based on our assessment against the Office of Local Government criteria, taking into account the issues raised by stakeholders during our submission period,” Ms Donnelly said.

“The councils with approved increases are encouraged to consult with the community to decide how best to implement the allowed increase.

“It’s important to note that elected councillors can choose when they implement the approved increase in rates income, including deferring any increases for up to 10 years and also how they set rates across the rating categories.”

Every year IPART sets a rate peg for each council in NSW which caps the maximum amount councils can increase the general income they collect from ratepayers (rates income). IPART set the core rate peg for 2024-25 between 4.5% to 5.5%. There is also an allowance for some councils that experienced population growth.

If the elected councillors agree that a council needs additional revenue, the council can apply to IPART for a special variation to increase rates income by more than the rate peg.

IPART assesses special variation applications and minimum rate increase applications against criteria set out in guidelines issued by the Office of Local Government.
Reports on each of the 9 council special variation decisions, 2 minimum rate decisions, and related documents are now available on the IPART website.

Table - Summary of IPART’s decisions on councils’ special variation and minimum rate applications.

Media Contact: Mark O’Brien, 0427 105 865, media@ipart.nsw.gov.au.