Applying for a Special Rate Variation

A Special Rate Variation allows Councils to increase rates above the rate peg increase, which is determined each year by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) under delegation from the NSW Minister for Local Government. 

Councils can apply for two types of Special Rate Variation:

  • An increase in general income in a single year (i.e. a 'one-off' variation)

  • An increase in general income in more than one year (i.e. between 2 and 7 years)

Applications for Special Rate Variations must be submitted to IPART for assessment. IPART is the State's main independent regulator. IPART sets prices and/or licenses certain water, electricity, gas and transport businesses and also has a role in setting local Council rates. IPART is also an economic and policy think tank for the NSW Government, similar to the Productivity Commission at the Commonwealth level.

The SRV Application Process

To ensure transparency and accountability, the SRV process involves several key stages

Community Engagement

Building on the engagement conducted to develop the Community Strategic Plan and Delivery Program, Council must carry out engagement to ensure the community clearly understands the need for and impact of the proposed SRV.

Financial Planning

Council develops a comprehensive financial plan that outlines the proposed rate increase, its impact on ratepayers, and the specific projects or services it will fund. This planning is an extension of the Long Term Financial Plan.

Independent Assessment

IPART carefully evaluates Council's financial plan, considering factors such as community consultation, affordability, value for money, and the alignment of proposed projects with community needs.

IPART Determination

IPART determines whether to approve the proposed SRV, considering the overall financial viability and the benefits it will bring to the community. If approved, IPART may set conditions or requirements for Council's implementation and monitoring.