Port Macquarie-Hastings Council will seek to apply the 2.7% rate peg set for 2019-20

Port Macquarie-Hastings Council will seek to increase the revenue it can collect from rates by a maximum of 2.7% in 2019-20 under the rate peg announced by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART).

The rate peg is determined by IPART each year and it sets the maximum increase to general income NSW councils can collect. The main component of general income is rates revenue. Councils have discretion to increase general income up to the rate peg, by less than the rate peg or not at all.

IPART Chair, Dr Peter Boxall, said next year’s rate peg is higher than it has been in recent years (2.3 per cent in 2018-19 and 1.5 per cent in 2017-18), primarily due to increases in labour and energy costs and higher construction costs for roads, drains, footpaths, kerbing and bridges.

“Since the rate peg applies to general income in total, and not to individual rate assessments, it is up to each council to determine whether to apply the allowed increase in full and how to allocate the increase between households, businesses and other ratepayer categories,” Dr Boxall said.

“Similarly, if councils want to increase their revenue by more than the rate peg they will need to consult with their communities before applying to IPART for a special variation.”

Port Macquarie-Hastings Council will not apply for a special rate variation in 2019-20, a council spokesperson confirmed.

“Council will look to apply the rate peg set by IPART for 2019-20 and this will be presented to councillors for approval,” the spokesperson said.

“Council has no plans for a special rate variation as we have indicated previously. The early announcement of the rate peg for the next financial year will enable council to begin the planning and budgeting process for 2019-20 much sooner.”

IPART is required to set the rate peg each year under delegation from the NSW Minister for Local Government.