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Department of Premier and Cabinet

Draft Local Government Amendment (Rates) Bill 2017

 The Department of Premier and Cabinet’s Local Government Division has prepared a draft Local Government Amendment (Rates) Bill 2017.

The Bill proposes amendments to the Local Government Act 1993 to:

  • expand the definition of municipal areas within section 16 of the Act to allow rating of land or structures that are adjoining municipal areas but are outside the municipal area as described with the relevant Central Plan Register;
  • clarify the application of section 87(1)(b) of the Act as it applies to Crown land leases and licences;
  • expand the exemption to non-service rates under section 87(1) of the Act to include marine farms as granted under Part 4 of the Marine Farming Planning Act 1995 and unallocated seabed Crown land;
  • amend section 120 of the Local Government Act to clarify liability to pay rates; and
  • validate the previous rating resolutions of local government.

Clarification of section 87

Currently there is inconsistency in the application of section 87(1)(b) of the Local Government Act in relation to reserve Crown land that is used by private or commercial lease or licence holders.

For example, currently a business that is located on non-reserve Crown land is subject to rates, whilst a business located nearby on reserve Crown land may not be subject to rates. While both businesses have access to the services provided by the relevant council, only one bears the rating burden of supporting the provision of those services.

The proposed amendments seek to clarify the application of the exemption and provide local government with the capacity to apply rates equitably to property that meets the ‘relevant right to occupation’ criteria.

The proposed amendments are not intended to apply to all licences over reserve Crown land, rather to apply to agreements that confer the lease or licence holder the right to “exclusive occupation” of the land.

Expansion of exemption from rates

The High Court decision of Coverdale v West Coast Council [2016] HCA 15 raised deficiencies within the relevant legislation that contradicted the policy intent of the State Government.

As a result, in order to implement the policy intent in relation to the application of rates to certain land, the proposed amendments provide an exemption from general rates to marine farm leases that are issued under the Marine Farming Planning Act 1995 located on Crown seabed within municipal areas.

In addition, the proposed amendments provide an exemption from general rates to unallocated seabed Crown land.

Draft Local Government Amendment (Rates) Bill 2017 - released for consultation

The draft Local Government Amendment (Rates) Bill 2017, which was released for stakeholders consultation on 24 January 2017, is provided for your information. 

The ‘summary of proposed amendments’, which describes the intent of each clause of the draft Bill, is provided for your information.

Feedback

Interested persons are invited to provide written submissions to the Department of Premier and Cabinet’s Local Government Division by email to lgd@dpac.tas.gov.au or by mail to:

Local Government Division
Department of Premier and Cabinet
GPO Box 123
HOBART   TAS   7001

Consultation on the draft Bill closes on Monday 27 February 2017.

Further information

For further information on the draft bill please contact the Local Government Division either by telephone on (03) 6232 7022 or by email to lgd@dpac.tas.gov.au.