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Department of Premier and Cabinet

Legislative framework

Part 9 of the Act provides councils with the legislative power to raise rates and charges.

Section 86B of the Act sets out that a council’s rates and charges policy must contain –

  1. a statement of the policy that the council intends to apply in exercising its powers, or performing its functions, under Part 9; and
  2. a statement of policy in respect of prescribed matters, if any. There are currently no prescribed matters.

A council's rates and charges policy in relation to the making or varying of a rate must take into account the principles referred to in section 86A(1) of the Act; that is:

  1. rates constitute taxation for the purpose of local government, rather than a fee for service; and
  2. the value of rateable land is an indicator of the capacity of the ratepayer in respect of that land to pay rates.

In other words, the policy should reflect that a council has considered the principles of taxation, including the burden that raising of rates places on ratepayers and how it should be distributed. The value of a rate payer’s land (land value, capital value or assessed annual value) should be considered as an indicator of the capacity of ratepayer to pay rates.

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