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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:
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.
The High Court decision of Coverdale v West Coast Council  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.
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.
Interested persons are invited to provide written submissions to the Department of Premier and Cabinet’s Local Government Division by email to email@example.com or by mail to:
Department of Premier and Cabinet
GPO Box 123
HOBART TAS 7001
Consultation on the draft Bill closes on Monday 27 February 2017.
For further information on the draft bill please contact the Local Government Division either by telephone on (03) 6232 7022 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.