Bega Valley Shire CouncilBega Valley Shire Council

Strategic documents and Special Rate Variation

Have Your Say


With Council having notified the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal IPART) of its intention to apply for a Special Rate Variation (SRV) to fund the ongoing operation, maintenance and upgrade of the Shire’s six pools, it is a requirement that Council’s Integrated Planning and Reporting documents and any updated associated plans be exhibited and adopted prior to a formal application being submitted.

The documents include the draft Revised Delivery Program 2017-2021 and draft Operational Plan 2020-2021, including Council’s Budget and Revenue Policy; the draft Fees and Charges 2020-2021; and the Swimming Pools Asset Management Plan. An amended Financial Strategy and Long-Term Financial Plan (LTFP) as elements of Councils Resourcing Strategy will also be on exhibition.

Special Rate Variation

Bega Valley Shire Council has notified IPART of its intention to apply for a three year SRV. The decision to formally apply for the SRV will be considered in February 2020 post community engagement throughout December and January. A  Special Rate Variation (SRV) would provide long term security of swimming pool services to the community.

The proposed SRV, if applied for and then approved by IPART, would allow Council to increase general income above the rate peg increase, which is annually determined by IPART, and to raise the revenue from all rate payers to help keep our pools operating.  This would ensure that the six pools meet all legislative and compliance requirements and are operating to modern standards. It also allows for fees to be kept at a level which is affordable to everyone.

If an SRV application is lodged, and is successful, ratepayers will pay a percentage increase on their existing rates. Council’s general rates are calculated using two parts. The first, the base rate is the same for all ratepayers, the second component is linked to the land valuation for the property. The amount Council applies for is indicated as a percentage rise in income generated and does not directly relate to the increase on each individual property.

To look at the impact of this and to calculate what your rates would look like if the proposed SRV was applied visit our Rate Estimate calculator (we are fine-tuning our Rate Calculator and will have it available online shortly). Please have your current yearly rate notice at hand to help you make this calculation. This will show what the impact would have been in this year and will provide an indication as to the amount of the increase for your property next year.

image of calculatorWork out how much you will pay by using our
online rate calculator

(we are fine-tuning our Rate Calculator and will have it available online shortly)

To explain how the proposed SRV would affect you, Council is sending a detailed brochure to all ratepayers in early January.  The brochure explains how the proposed SRV will be introduced over three years, as set out in the table below.

The following table presents the proposed percentage increases. It is important to note that the cumulative impact isn’t a sum of the annual increases. It is the difference between what rates are at the end of the three-year period compared to the start.

  2020/2021 2021/2022 2022/2023 Cumulative Impact
Rate Peg 2.60% 2.50% 2.50% 7.80%
SRV Portion 2.92% 2.76% 2.63% 9.00%
Total Increase 5.52% 5.26% 5.13% 16.80%

Note: Figures are rounded. 2.6% rate peg confirmed for 2020/21


Have Your Say

Council is looking for your feedback on the draft Revised Delivery Program 2017-2021 and draft Operational Plan 2020-2021, including Council’s Budget and Revenue Policy; the draft Fees and Charges 2020-2021; and the Swimming Pools Asset Management Plan. An amended Financial Strategy and Long-Term Financial Plan (LTFP) as elements of Councils Resourcing Strategy will also be on exhibition. These documents have been updated to reflect the proposed Special Rate Variation. Council will consider all feedback when it reviews the responses in early 2020, prior to the decision to formally apply for the Special Rate Variation.

Have your say by:

  • Email:
  • Post: General Manager, Bega Valley Shire Council, PO Box 492, Bega NSW 2550
  • Online: Comments can be left at the bottom of this page
Please submit your feedback by 11:58pm Friday 24 January 2020

Have Your Say Community Sessions

These community sessions have been cancelled due to the current fire emergency. Further information on future consideration of this will be circulated following the work on the current emergency.

  • CANCELLED - Tura Murrang Library
    Tuesday 14 January
  • CANCELLED - Bega Valley Commemorative Civic Centre
    Wednesday 15 January
  • CANCELLED - Bermagui Library
    Thursday 16 January

Who's listening

Project timeline


Frequently Asked Questions - Swimming Pools Strategy


Frequently Asked Questions - Special Rate Variation


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    Comments (25)

  • I do not wish to pay more to fund swimming pools I do not use.
    I am lucky enough to live near the beach and use the ocean to swim in.
    Our rates are very high.
    I suggest you raise the pool entry prices to cover the cost. If this is not feasible, close the pools.

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  • The shire should only have 3 pools. We can't continue to service and provide infrastructure to small townships, like Bemboka, in which the population of that town centre can't support itself.

    BVSC has a difficult decision, it is a large shire with a small and dispersed population. It's time to make the hard but right choice - close 3 down and transfer the funding of those to the 3 remaining ones to ensure continued maintenance and programs.

    If the townships of the 3 closed pools still wish to keep the pools, is there a way to "gift" the pool to a community group that is then responsible for all maintenance and costs.

    Maybe look at other Council centres and look at the per capita use per pool and compare with the BVSC. I am sure you will find our 6 pools have a considerably low usage per pool compared to the rest of the state. We need to stop wasting money and consolidate.

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  • I disagree with the rate rise to support swimming pools. If pools are not viable close them down or increase the entry fee.
    Also roads; We have our roads graded once a year. Dairy Farmers and school bus routes have their roads graded twice a year. I dont mind school bus routes but why do dairy farmers get extra grading. They are not the only business/farm that has a truck using their roads everyday or every second day. We are farmers and have our own businesses. Ie Fencing - have delivery tructs delivering material and our own meat business so we have pick up trucks and refridgerated delivery trucks bringing our meat back to the property . To me this is discrimating against other farmers/businesses. the catagory of the roads need to be changed. Also increases in wastage. We have to pay to take rubbish to the tip as well as pay excessive wastage charges on our rates. If council is so short of funds they need to cut staff especially on road gangs/concreting gangs etc where there are alot of staff standing around doing nothing. More staff than what is needed for the job.

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  • I am concerned that with these horrendous drought conditions that we are facing in the shire people are struggling to pay for drinking water to be delivered to their properties, let alone to then be told that you now have to pay for swimming pools that only a few use. This seems to be an incredibly ill timed and harsh impost on many rate payers.
    A poor decision at a time when people can least afford it.
    Common sense needs to prevail.

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  • I wish to object to the proposed rate increase, Its about time the shire takes a deep breath and says, "' no more rate increases". I f you wish to raise funds start by cutting back on upper management know..... the gravy train some of the CFO, CEO and others are on. .....ITS UNSUSTAINABLE!
    This must be the only council in australia that charges service fees for water infrastructure and then charges you $200 for a 20mmm copper pipe to your house .......every year!!
    The best thing that could happen to us residents is that the Bega shire becomes part of victoria and only then will our rates be halved.
    So no on the swimming rate increase for me.

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  • Enough is enough with further burden on rate payers .
    Six pools in any shire is way over the top when compared to usage and per capita head.
    Look at the land use in the valley Farming and Retirement stands out and who will pay the most for pools we cannot use.
    Council figures state$151.907 average land value,great ours is more like double that and as pensioners we will be paying double along with farmers.
    Council say We're keeping costs down! rubbish.
    Some years ago Council put on a storm water levy $25 its still there, who are the greatest problem when speaking of storm water infrastructure "COUNCIL"
    Jet patcher that machine used to repair roads is useless, the surface left breaks down rapidly and together with not returning to sweep up the residual gravel all of which ends up in our storm water system GREAT!
    Bermagui last year had the secondary roads resealed [ two coat seal ] very bad job with many bare patches of bitumen that was tramped into shops and business's much is still there to be seen and where did the access of gravel go that was not cleaned up why into the storm water system of course!
    White lines painted on Murrah st east, we know where to park and do not need the recurring cost's of painting unnecessary lines.
    More could be said about our money being wasted especially when our state rep Andrew Constance is party to knocking down football stadiums spending $750 million
    when his constituents require money to properly fund infrastructure which i might add is his ministry.

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  • I disagree strongly with this HUGE rate rise to fund pool maintenance. The entry cost into pools should be raised and the number of pools in the shire reduced. We have magnificent ocean beaches for swimming.
    Put a stop to all the grand plans to change our towns. The majority of people are very happy with our towns the way they are!
    Already we pay more in rates than anywhere I know of in NSW. There has been no increase in wages and the cost of living keeps rising. Enough!

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  • This rate increase is outrageous. The average house holder in the region pays between $2000-$4000 in rates per year. A 9% additional surcharge in rates equates to about $300 pa per household. This is $3000 over the next 10 years and will increase proportionally with the general rate increases.. The shire has a population of retirees and low income residents. To put such a heavy imposition on the population so that a few small villages can have their own little used pools is ridiculous. There should only be 2 or 3 pools in the shire at the most. The on flow effect is, more businesses will close due to increased rents, and people will have less disposable income, People in rental accommodation will have a rent increase of $10-20 a week. The local population simply cannot afford this imposition.

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  • Totally support a special rate variation to maintain and improve pools which are used by so many people, particularly those who are young and learning to swim - water safety is so vital in a part of the world like ours where the ocean, rivers and dams are so accessible; people who are part of family and enjoying fun together away from computers and i-phones; people who are older and recovering from major surgery or working to build health and fitness after other acquired or permanent injuries/ disabilities; a range of people who are isolated and making friendships or connections in the community; people who may not have access to transport or the disposable income that allows them to travel to another town to swim; and the many others who live and are part of our diverse local community. We can all help each other by making a small additional payment to continue to maintain and improve each other's daily lives.

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  • I strongly object to any SVR rise as a non user of the pools I find it hard to pay for something that we don't use. If the pools were private they would have to put up prices to cover cost there is no way they would get a SVR. There are way to many pools in this shire so cut some of those pools out as we have very good beaches to swim in. Your management wages have gone up but I have not had a wage rise for about 5 years not but everything goes up how are we to keep finding more money that we do not have. So I say no to the rate rises.

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  • I strongly disagree with the proposed SRV for the 6 swimming pools. The town of Merimbula with its high proportion of retirees is clearly already struggling with over 20 business premises empty, due to high rental costs and the fact that people have less disposable income, due to low wages growth and interest rate cuts by the RBA, hurting many of us self funded retirees. This extra impost on the people of our town and others will just mean people will have even less to spend at local businesses that are already struggling.
    It seems like you are already proposing to add the SRV onto the already maximum increase under the Rate peg for the next 3 years.
    If this council cannot run efficiently when it employs the maximum rate peg which is above inflation then there is something seriously wrong with the way it is run.
    If the money wasn't wasted on that gross Merimbula intersection that has done nothing to alleviate traffic congestion, we may not require thus SRV.
    However if there are no other options then I suggest you employ the user pays principle and that way the people that want to and can afford to use the swimming pools can do so by paying more and the people that don't wish to use them or cannot, due to their health will not be financially penalised.

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  • I think it is extremely poor that the ratepayers of this shire are being asked to put up with another rate rise to pay for swimming pools. As a single pensioner I find it extremely difficult to pay the rates each quarter as it is so expensive. Another special rise in rates will make life difficult for many people in my situation. The council should manage money better and not waste what they have. Paying for the upkeep of six pools in a shire this size is ridiculous. Cut the number of pools and charge more for entry

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  • At the moment I don't think it is a wise decision by council to increase rates, There have been no increase in wages & in fact some wages have decreased [Hospitality] with the reorganization of the award system.

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  • Council should look at all areas where financial savings can possibly be made instead of slugging ratepayers even more money under the SRV. Possible areas of savings could include, but not limited to the following:
    1. Swimming pool users should pay more - many ratepayers including myself use the beaches which are in abundance in our Shire. A complete waste of money are 6 pools with a limited attendance and for a short opening period each year.
    2. Cut back staff numbers which appear to be top heavy.
    3. Cut back on the over supply of Council vehicles to staff.
    4. Don't waste money on so called "art" objects such as the sculpture christened the t**d by many BVSC ratepayers.
    5. Close the art gallery which is not well patronised by ratepayers.
    6. Coucillors and senior staff should lead by example and forego pay increases in these tough economic times.
    7. Perhaps the answer would be the appointment of an administrator as I believe this Council has lost touch with its ratepayers.

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  • I object to any increase in council rates. Council is already afforded the luxury of an automatic 'above inflation' increase in rates annually. I believe that 6 pools in the area is well in excess of requirements of the population. User pays should be adopted after a thorough examination of usage, income and operating efficiency of all pools is undertaken and the number of pools is reduced by at least half by disposing of the lowest performing pools.
    It is surely time that this and all councils learn to 'live within their means' as ratepayers have to, rather than seeking to increase rates because there is a 'loophole' in the system that allows it to.

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  • I strongly recommend that this ill-conceived plan and rate hike does not go ahead. The number of pools within the region is excessive, they lose money hand over fist according to your figures and the number of ratepayers who use the pools is low. Then there are the terrible drought conditions currently which makes a mockery of wasting water for these pools. How about council close down 2-3 pools that are coming up for massive works and simply maintain the remaining more modern pools.

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  • Why can,t the users pay for the pools they use? As I am paying much more rates than most of Bega residents.Can they pay at least 50% of the costs for the pools? For Tura Beach ,and Merimbula residents have been subsidising too long these other communities within Bega.

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  • I strongly support the increase in rates to cover the cost of pools. While I don't use these pools myself,, taxes are what we pay for a civilised society, and the provision of pools to smaller communities is a key part of a civilised society. It is critical that children learn how to swim, which they will not do through occasional trips to the beach. In addition, there has already been substantial public investment in the construction of the existing pools, and this will be lost if they are closed down. Smaller communities already experience a range of disadvantages, and the closure of the pools will exacerbate this.Moreover, as we experience greater warming due to climate change, the provision of cool public spaces for people to go will be increasingly important, and community pools will be an important part of of the shire's climate change response.

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  • I strongly disagree with both the rate variation and the retention of the 6 pools. The council already has a poor financial management record resulting in the current publicly acknowledged short fall of 12 million dollars. To retain 6 pools all of which operate at a loss and requiring significant capital works is inappropriate to say the least. 3 pools account for 80% of usage and income (approximately), 5 pools are only open for 25% (approximately) of the year, we have the ocean for aquatic activities for the same period (at least). No other shire in NSW considers it viable or equitable to have more than 3 pools irrespective of size or population ( average number is 2-3) except the Snowy which has a similar problem to the Bega shire in that it has inherited pools either through shire amalgamation or communities building a pools and then finding themselves unable or unwilling to operate them. The council has been opaque in its efforts to claim popular support for their SRV and has not even offered the ratepayers direct consultation in relation to this matter with a simple questionnaire with the rate notice. Though I support aquatic activities I fail to see why every town or community needs a subsidised pool. Many metropolitan ratepayers drive for 1/2 an hour to access a such activities. Bega has one of the lowest medium incomes in the state yet we pay one of the highest rates,

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  • I do not beleive that it is necessary to maintain council operated pools in the outlyling small population centres of Bemboka, Cobargo and Candelo.

    In these days of increased personal mobility, residents wishing to take advantage of council pools should be prepaprd to travel to the larger population centres. School swimming lessons can be dealt with by hiring a coach or minibus to take pupils to one of the larger pools. We should also not forget that we have some of the best beaches in the world within the Shire and these are readily accesible to residents of the outlying settlements..

    Whilst i would be in favour of maintaining the Eden, Pambula and Bega facilities to a good standard, I oppose a rate increase to be imposed annually into the forseeable future, to maintain facilites which I beleive are very lightly used.

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    In mid September under the guise of a “fit for purpose six pool aquatic strategy” council announced its proposal for an additional rate increase of 9.0% as a Special Rate Variation (SRV) to be implemented over a three year period. This huge increase in rates is to fund six pools, we are told. Compared to the current inflation rate of 1.9% and Council’s already announced 2.6% rates increase for 2020 – the pegged maximum, Council is proposing the SRV as a “one off permanent increase to general rate income”. Together with the “Rate Peg” of 2.5% -2.6% the rates rise over three years will be 16.8%, in four years 19.30%, five years 21.8% and so on.

    In its published “Have Your Say” Council states that for the Shire to have pools that are operating at modern standards, a “key focus” is to look at “the 6 swimming pools as a group and not as individual facilities”. Here the subterfuge commences; hiding the highly successful Aquatic Centre at Pambula, funded by the Community, Pambula Rotary and State and Federal government grants in among the shires five other seasonal regional pools, none of which are covered or heated. The Sapphire Aquatic Centre at Pambula comfortably supports a catchment from Eden to Bournda and Merimbula to Millingandi and Lochiel. Take Tura Beach as an example, our local pool is Pambula. This is the only heated and covered pool in our shire providing access 12 months of the year plus a gym and child minding facilities. With charges of up to $16 per day it is self-funding. The pool at Eden for example which opens only 6 months a year is simply not needed and certainly does not justify the large expenditure proposed for it to “operate at modern standards”. So what about the other four? Of these Bega, built in 1962 is scheduled for renewal in 2023 and is central to the other three. Bega is the obvious choice for renewal as a modern aquatic centre similar to Pambula. Council should not try to raise rates for pools that are no longer needed but look to construction of a modern aquatic centre at Bega utilising State and Federal government grant funding as at Pambula –and restricting rates rises as much as possible for its already heavily taxed residents. Maintaining swimming pools in small villages/townships seems to be a hang-over from the horse and buggy days and is no longer appropriate when those fit enough to swim usually have access to a car to drive 20 -30 minutes to the major pool facilities at Pambula and if constructed at Bega.

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  • Council, I think that most ratepayers have a lot of additional expense after the recent fire devastation. It would not be fair to also slug them with an additional rates impost. Have a heart and a care at this dreadful time.

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  • Why should ratepayers be the ones to pay for all this? I don't use the pools but rates from 3 properties will be increasing, which means we are paying triple! Surely there is another way, a fairer way, in which ALL residents pay towards this. Sounds to me that its a luxury the Council can't afford. I am not happy at all with this proposal.

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  • I strongly object to the proposed rate increase to fund swimming pools. Close enough of the existing pools and use the savings to pay for the remainder..

    But apart from my objection this proposal is, in any case, a bad time economically to increase rates. Wages are down, unemployment is high, fires have caused hardship, interest rates are low and because of the fires, food prices are set to rise. These reasons are only a few that council should think on and turn its attention instead to consider the financial and emotional well-being of residents...not use swimming pools as an excuse to gouge a community that is already under stress.

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  • Whilst I understand that the swimming pools are an important part of the community for some, I feel it is very unfair to make every rate payer pay. I do not use the pools and I am sure there is a large section of the Bega Valley who do not use the pools. I would suggest that rather than burdening the rate payers with another fee that the burden should be placed on the people who use the pools. There would be a large percentage of pool uses that are not rate payers. You could easily reduce the number of pools in the area and then increase the entry fee or make it mandatory that uses have to pay a membership fee to use their local pools.
    I am very against paying a fee for only a few to use the pools whilst a large section of the community do not uses these pools.
    If you cannot organise a user pay system than close the pools altogether.

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