Rates explained

Why do I have to pay rates?

In New South Wales, all councils are required by law to collect rates.

The rates you pay go towards Kempsey Shire Council’s general operations. They are not a fee for service but contribute to Council carrying out its many responsibilities, such as:

  • public health and food business inspections
  • road and bridge maintenance
  • parks, gardens and playgrounds
  • waste collection, treatment and disposal
  • sporting and recreation services
  • libraries
  • environmental planning and protection
  • dog control

How do you determine the amount I pay?

Two important factors determine how much you pay: your land value and your rating category.

Annual Levies increase each year to align with the increased costs of providing services.

Your land value

The amount you’re required to pay changes when your land value changes.

The NSW Government Valuer General is responsible for valuing your land. The Valuer General sends you a Notice of Valuation when your land value has been updated, which occurs at least every three years.

This Notice of Valuation lets you consider your land value before the Valuer General provides the information to Kempsey Shire Council to set your rates.

If you disagree with the valuation, you can ask the Valuer General to review your land value. Once you have received your Notice of Valuation, you have 60 days to do this.

The next Valuer General update to land values is due for the 2025-26 financial year.

Your rating category

Your rating category also affects what you pay. All rateable land falls into one of four categories: residential, business, farmland or mining.

Most people are charged ordinary rates under the residential category. Your rating category is displayed on your rates notice.

Your rates will differ depending on the category of the land.

How is land valued?

The NSW Government's Valuer General determines land values on 1 July each year under the Valuation of Land Act 1916.

Under this legislation, the Valuer General must value land on its highest and best permitted use, based on current zoning and planning restrictions determined by your local council.

For detailed information on how land is valued, see the Valuer General’s page How do we value land?

What if I disagree with the valuation of my land?

If you have questions or concerns about your land value or other property information, you can:

  • read more about how the NSW Valuer General calculates land values at How do we value land?
  • contact the NSW Valuer General’s office on 1800 110 038 to discuss your options with an experienced valuer or property information specialist
  • order an information kit from the Valuer General's office, which provides you with more detailed information such as a benchmark component report, valuation sales report and review guide.   

Can I lodge an objection to the valuation of my land?

Yes, you can lodge a formal objection with the NSW Valuer General. This can be done online through the Objection Portal.

If you don’t have access to the internet, please phone the Valuer General’s office on 1800 110 038 to discuss your options.

To lodge an objection, you will need to tell the Valuer General what you think the land value should be and supply evidence to support the value you are suggesting.

Please note you have 60 days to lodge an objection. The deadline is either:

  • on the front of your Notice of Valuation
  • 60 days from the issue date on your land tax assessment.

See the Valuer General’s guide to Lodging an objection and the Valuer General’s Objection Checklist.

How are land values changing in Kempsey Shire?

In 2020-21, there was strong growth in Kempsey Shire land values. This includes residential land values, which increased by 17% between 1 July 2020 and 1 July 2021.

Many NSW local government areas recorded similar strong increases, driven by factors such as greater demand from metropolitan sea and tree changers moving to the area. Other market drivers included the relative affordability of property in Kempsey Shire compared to other NSW north coast locations and ongoing low interest rates.

Percentage changes above and below 3.7% may occur within each rating category due to the changes in individual land value, however the overall increase for each category remains static at 3.7%.

To find out more, visit Land values in the Kempsey local government area on the NSW Valuer General’s website.

What if I’m having trouble paying rates?

We understand that some people affected by COVID-19 and recent natural disasters may find it difficult to meet their financial commitments.

If you are having genuine difficulties paying your rates, please contact Council on 6566 3200 to discuss your options.

What are the fees and charges on my rates notice?

For an explanation of all the items on your rates notice, head to How to read your rates notice & water meter

How do rates affect Council’s budget?

Many people believe the money Council receives in rates payments makes up its total income each year. In fact, rates and annual charges currently amount to around 44% of the total budget Council needs to provide services and maintain essential infrastructure. This percentage fluctuates from year to year and depends on many factors.

Council sources the remaining funds through federal and state government grants, loans, fees and charges, contributions and interest.

For full details of Council's annual income and expenditure, please see our latest Annual report.

What is the due date for my rates?

Council gives you two options to pay your rates: 

  • pay the full amount on or before 31 August each year, or
  • pay the same amount in four instalments spread across the year.

If you choose to pay in quarterly instalments, the due dates are the same each year:

  • 1st instalment: 31 August
  • 2nd instalment: 30 November
  • 3rd instalment: 28 February
  • 4th instalment: 31 May.

Council offers you many payment options, including online, by phone, by direct debit, by mail or in person at Council Customer Service, your local post office or any bank.

How do I change my postal address?

If your postal address has changed, please complete the Change of Postal Address form (web form).

You can email your completed form to ksc@kempsey.nsw.gov.au or bring it to Council Customer Service at 22 Tozer Street, West Kempsey.

What if I haven’t received a rates notice?

Phone Council on 6566 3200 or complete our Report an issue form.

Can I receive my rates notices electronically?

Yes, and there are many benefits. To find out how electronic notices work and how you can sign up, visit our eNotices page.

What if I make a late payment?

Interest is charged on any amount that is unpaid after the due date. Interest charges are calculated daily at a rate set by the NSW Minister for Local Government. 

If you are having genuine difficulties paying your rates, please contact Council on 6566 3200 to discuss your options. 

Is there a pensioner concession?

If you are a pensioner, you may be entitled to a rebate on your rates. 

To be eligible, you must receive a pension from Centrelink or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and be entitled to a pensioner concession card issued by the Australian Government. You can only claim a concession on the property if it is the sole or principal place you live. 

You will need to visit Council’s Customer Service team at 22 Tozer Street, West Kempsey, to complete a pensioner rebate form.

What is the environmental levy?

The environmental levy has been in place since 2008-09. The funds raised are used to manage, protect and preserve our waterways and natural environment.

The cost was previously included in your general rates; Council has separated these charges on your rates notice to make it more transparent and easier to read.

Where can I learn more about Council rates and charges?

The NSW Office of Local Government explains in depth how rates and charges are set in New South Wales.