Special Rate Variation

Council has adopted the Special Rate Variation that will take effect from 1 July 2023.

Bega Valley Shire Council logo and Special Rate Variation words.

Council's SRV Decision

Council has approved and adopted the permanent Special Rate Variation (SRV) of 24% inclusive of the 4.1% rate peg for the 2023-24 financial year and 19.6% inclusive of an assumed 2.5% rate peg for the 2024-25 financial year.  The SRV will take effect from 1 July 2023 for all rateable properties in the shire. Ratepayers are encouraged to assess the impact of the SRV on their respective properties by using the SRV calculator.

IPART Determination

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) has approved Bega Valley Shire Council’s application for a permanent Special Rate Variation (SRV) of 24% in 2023-24 and 19.6% in 2024-25. Councillors will carefully consider the implications of the determination and assess whether to proceed with the SRV at the 28 June Council meeting.

Should Councillors choose to proceed with the rate increase, it will be effective from 1 July 2023.

Council's SRV application

Council’s updated Long Term Financial Plan outlined that a 90% increase in rates would be required to maintain existing levels of service. Acknowledging the extensive feedback received during the community engagement period, along with recent successful grant funding and the independently assessed Capacity to Pay Report, Council officers recommended at the 1 February 2023 Council meeting to proceed with a permanent special rate variation of 43% as per Option C in the updated Long Term Financial Plan 2023-32.

Councillors supported the 43% increase, however requested it be introduced over two years further acknowledging the economic stresses the community is experiencing. This increase is modelled as Option E in the updated LTFP.

Council has submitted an SRV application to IPART for a permanent special rate variation of 24% in 2023-24 (inclusive of 4.1% rate peg) and 19.6% in 2024-25, (inclusive of assumed 2.5% rate peg). By resolving to split the recommended 43% increase over two years it results in a cumulative increase of 48.3% at the end of 2024-25.


To meet the rising costs of delivering services and maintaining and renewing our community assets, Bega Valley Shire Council has applied for a permanent Special Rate Variation (SRV). 

SRVs allow a council to increase its income from rates above the ‘rate peg’ (the annual increase set by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal each year), under the provisions of the Local Government Act 1993 (NSW). 

Every day our expenses are rising beyond our income and we need to either increase our income or significantly reduce the services and assets we provide across our whole community. 

We are a geographically large shire with a relatively small number of ratepayers. We also have vast areas of state and national parks and forests which don’t generate income. 

This means we need more money to look after our assets into the future – things like roads, footpaths, bridges, stormwater drains, parks, libraries, community buildings and swimming pools – and the vital services we provide to the community, including:

  • manage our sporting fields, parks, playgrounds, swimming pools, community halls and cemeteries
  • ensure our road, bridge and footpath networks are safe and accessible
  • operate our libraries, Regional Gallery, Civic Centre, Regional Learning Centre and childcare services
  • process development applications
  • conserve and rehabilitate our natural environment
  • keep our community healthy and safe by providing rangers, building inspectors and health inspectors
  • support our community and repair infrastructure when impacted by disasters.

Key points that are important to understand:

  • The SRV would only be applied to the base rate and the ad valorem component of your rates bill, not your entire bill. The ad valorem is related to the unimproved land value of the property and is calculated from property valuations supplied by the NSW Valuer General. The SRV will not be applied to any waste, water or sewer charges on your rates notice.
  • The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) will decide whether to approve or deny our SRV application. If we apply, there is a chance we will not get approval.
  • If we do get approval, the SRV will not be introduced until 1 July 2023.

Why do we need an SRV?

The funding of local government is complex. The work we do is largely funded by general rates and charges, user fees and charges and a Financial Assistance Grant from the Australian Government. We also receive grants from the state and Australian government for certain projects, programs and services.

In the past, councils received close to 1% of federal taxation revenue through the Financial Assistance Grants. However over time this has reduced to 0.55%, with no indication this declining trend will change.

Our fixed income base is from general rates (the base rate and ad valorem) and this is set each year by the rate peg controlled by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART).

Over the years, the annual rate peg increases have not kept pace with the inflation and rising costs. Our delivery costs have increased significantly – fuelling our vehicles to repair roads, clean toilets, mow lawns, pay wages, etc – and the costs involved in purchasing materials, hiring contractors and paying suppliers has also increased.

Council has worked hard to make sure we are as efficient as possible and we continue to review ways to reduce expenditure including staff restructures, improvements in our asset management processes, zero-based budgeting, divestment of land and joint regionalisation of services and planning.  

We have continued to deliver grant-funded assets to increase liveability and amenity in our community and this, combined with external influences such as rising costs, material shortages and unexpected expenditure associated with multiple disasters and the pandemic, has gradually led to the problem we now seek to address.

If we don’t improve our financial position over the longer term, services will have to be reduced and assets will not be renewed when needed. The value of our cash and investments will continue to decline.

The gap between the increasing cost to support our assets and deliver services, and the fixed amount of income we collect is widening, so applying for an SRV now is a financially responsible decision.

The Long Term Financial Plan (LTFP) that was adopted by Council in June 2022 was based on financial modelling assumptions and estimates from March and April 2022. Since that time, we have experienced rapidly rising inflation, ongoing cost escalations, material and contractor supply issues and undertaken further revaluation of our assets.

At the time of adopting the current LTFP, it was also acknowledged that costs for renewing or rebuilding assets had been based on unit rates that were backwards looking and were expected to be underestimates based on inflationary trends at that time. In addition, further detailed work was done on understanding what our asset replacements needs are over the next 10 years. In the next 10-year period, there is a need to replace a number of large value assets that are at the end of their lives and have not yet been replaced. Many of the large value assets Council manages are long lasting assets such as pools and bridges that have 50-70 year lives. Many of our assets were built in the 1940s, 50s and 60s and are now nearing the end of their service lives and if they are not replaced, risk failure and closure.

Frequently Asked Questions



Rate calculator

The rates calculator is based on the 2022 land valuations data, to calculate the impact on your rates of the Special Rate Variation.

Download our rates calculator (Excel)



Who's listening

Kaliegh Smerdon
Manager, Corporate Planning and Improvement
Bega Valley Shire Council
Phone: (02) 6499 2430
Email: KSmerdon@begavalley.nsw.gov.au


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