Council Rates Policy

Council Rates Document No: CPL510.2
Approval Date: 24 June 2018
Approved By: Council
Review Date:

June 2019

Responsible Officer: Director Finance and Strategy Expiry Date: N/A
Version No: 11
Authorising Officer: Chief Executive Officer

1. Purpose

To ensure that Council has a sound basis on which to develop the various charging features when determining its revenue strategies and ensure consistency with provisions of the Local Government Act 1989 (LGA).


2. Scope

The policy applies to Council when considering and determining the annual budget or special rates and charges throughout the financial year.

Council officers must consider the application of this policy when:

  • preparing revenue models or raising charges, or
  • dealing with any proposed or existing commercial enterprises.

3. References

  • LGA – Part 8 Rates and Charges on Rateable Land – in particular see 161(1).
  • Ministerial Guidelines for Differential Rating. 

4. Definitions

Use and Level of Differential Rate

The differential rate will be used to fund some of those items of expenditure described in the Budget adopted by Council and set at a level which Council considers necessary to achieve the identified objectives.


Geographic Location

Wherever located within the municipal district, except those differentials which are described below as including a geographic restriction.


Use of Land

Any use permitted under the Greater Geelong Planning Scheme.


Planning Scheme Zoning

The zoning applicable to each piece of rateable land within this category, as determined by consulting maps referred to in the Greater Geelong Planning Scheme.


Types of Buildings

All buildings which are now constructed on the land or which are constructed prior to 30 June 2019.

Vacant Land

No building must be located on the land or constructed prior to 30 June 2019 except for any uninhabitable shed or shelter, the size of which does not exceed 5% of the total area of the land.


Differential Characteristics and Rating Objectives

Residential Land - means any land:

  1. that is used exclusively for residential purposes; or
  2. on which a habitable building is erected, which building is unoccupied, and which is zoned residential under the Greater Geelong Planning Scheme.

Rating Objective:

To ensure that all rateable land makes an equitable and efficient financial contribution to the cost of carrying out the functions of Council generally, including the:

  1. construction and maintenance of public infrastructure;
  2. development and provision of health and community services; and
  3. provision of general support services.

Vacant Land - means any land:

  1. that does not have the characteristics of Farm Land; and
  2. on which no building is erected, save for any uninhabitable shed or shelter, the size of which does not exceed 5% of the total area of the land.

Rating Objectives:

  1. To ensure that all rateable land makes an equitable and efficient financial contribution to the cost of carrying out the functions of Council generally, including the:
    1. construction and maintenance of public infrastructure;
    2. development and provision of health and community services; and
    3. provision of general support services.
  2. To encourage the prompt development of vacant land to attract new residents and businesses to the City of Greater Geelong.
  3. To discourage untimely and unnecessary divisions of land.

These objectives will be met by setting the Vacant Land differential at 152% of the Residential Land differential.


Commercial Land – means any land that:

  1. does not have the characteristics of:
    1. Farm Land; or
    2. Industrial Land; or
    3. Petroleum Production Land.
  2. is used predominately for the sale of goods or services or other commercial purposes; or
  3. on which a habitable building is erected, which building is unoccupied, and which is zoned other than residential under the Greater Geelong Planning Scheme.

Rating Objective:

To ensure that all rateable land makes an equitable and efficient financial contribution to the cost of carrying out the functions of Council generally, including the:

  1. construction and maintenance of public infrastructure;
  2. development and provision of health and community services; and
  3. provision of general support services.

The Point – Residential Land - means any land that:

  1. is used exclusively for residential purposes; or
  2. on which a habitable building is erected, which building is unoccupied, and which is zoned residential under the Greater Geelong Planning Scheme; and
    forms part of the land formerly described in Certificate of Title Volume 09901 Folio 324 and also described as Lot B PS 635643, PS 640648Y, PS 722221H,  PS 722220K, PS 743868K, PS 732908M, PS 638301D, PS 635642R, PS722215C, PS 722214E PS 743877, PS 816893, PS 743876 and PS 743878. 

Rating Objectives:

  1. To ensure that all rateable land makes an equitable and efficient financial contribution to the cost of carrying out the functions of Council generally, including the:
    1. construction and maintenance of public infrastructure;
    2. development and provision of health and community services;
    3. provision of general support services; and
    4. management of environmentally sensitive land.
  2. To ensure that, following the development of the Point Land, and transfer to Council of the management of environmentally sensitive land, including the provision of a range of services around an existing waterway, constructed lake and canal system, an equitable and efficient financial contribution to the cost of Council's management responsibilities will be made by the ratepayers in respect of that land.

The Point – Vacant Land - means any land:

  1. that does not have the characteristics of Farm Land; and
  2. on which no building is erected save for any small uninhabitable storage shed or shelter, the size of which does not exceed 5% of the total land area; and
  3. forms part of the land formerly described in Certificate of Title Volume 09901 Folio 324 and also described as Lot B PS 635643, PS 640648Y, PS 722221H,  PS 722220K, PS 743868K, PS 732908M, PS 638301D, PS 635642R, PS722215C, PS 722214E. PS 743877, PS 816893, PS 743876 and PS 743878.

Rating Objectives:

  1. To ensure that all rateable land makes an equitable and efficient financial contribution to the cost of carrying out the functions of Council, generally including the:
    1. construction and maintenance of public infrastructure;
    2. development and provision of health and community services;
    3. provision of general support services; and
    4. management of environmentally sensitive land.
  2. To ensure that, following the development of the Point Land, and transfer to Council of the management of environmentally sensitive land, including the provision of a range of services around an existing waterway, constructed lake and canal system, an equitable and efficient financial contribution to the cost of Council's management responsibilities will be made by the ratepayers in respect of that land.
  3. To encourage the prompt development of vacant land to attract new residents and businesses to the City of Greater Geelong and, more specifically, to the Point Land.
  4. To discourage untimely and unnecessary divisions of land.

The Point – Commercial Land - means any land that:

  1. does not have the characteristics of:
    1. Farm Land; or
    2. Industrial Land; and
  2. is used predominantly for the sale of goods or services, or other commercial purposes; or
  3. on which a habitable building is erected, which building is unoccupied, and which is zoned other than residential under the Greater Geelong Planning Scheme; and
  4. forms part of the land formerly described in Certificate of Title Volume 09901 Folio 324 and also described as Lot B PS 635643, PS 640648Y, PS 722221H,  PS 722220K, PS 743868K, PS 732908M, PS 638301D, PS 635642R, PS722215C, PS 722214E. PS 743877, PS 816893, PS 743876 and PS 743878.

Rating Objectives:

  1. To ensure that all rateable land makes an equitable and efficient financial contribution to cost of carrying out the functions of Council, generally including the:
    1. construction and maintenance of public infrastructure;
    2. development and provision of health and community services;
    3. provision of general support services; and
    4. management of environmentally sensitive land.
  2. To ensure that, following the development of the Point Land, and transfer to Council of the management of environmentally sensitive land, including the provision of a range of services around an existing waterway, constructed lake and canal system, to ensure that an equitable and efficient financial contribution to the cost of Council's management responsibilities will be made by the ratepayers in respect of that land.

Industrial Land – means any land that:

  1. does not have the characteristics of:
    1. Vacant Land; or
    2. Commercial Land; or
    3. Petroleum Production Land. 
  2. is used predominately for industrial purposes, which includes manufacturing, repairing, servicing, processing and reprocessing.

Rating Objective:

To ensure that all rateable land makes an equitable and efficient financial contribution to the cost of carrying out the functions of Council generally, including the:

  1. construction and maintenance of public infrastructure;
  2. development and provision of health and community services; and
  3. provision of general support services.

Mixed Use Land – means any land that:

  1. has the characteristics of Residential Land combined with the characteristics of Commercial Land or Industrial Land; and
  2. is used partly for residential purposes and partly for commercial and/or industrial purposes.

Rating Objective:

To ensure that all rateable land makes an equitable and efficient financial contribution to the cost of carrying out the functions of Council generally, including the:

  1. construction and maintenance of public infrastructure;
  2. development and provision of health and community services; and
  3. provision of general support services.

Farm Land – means any land which:

  1. is not less than 2 hectares in area; and
  2. is used predominantly for the business of grazing (including agistment), dairying, pig-farming, poultry farming, fish farming, tree farming, bee-keeping, viticulture, horticulture, fruit growing or the growing of crops of any kind or for any combination of those activities; or
  3. satisfies the criteria for municipal purpose benefit for large holdings to the extent that it is, for example, land that is predominantly used and maintained for heritage, cultural or environmental purposes, or land that is held as natural bushland under a trust for nature covenant, or land that is held under some other type of similar formal undertaking.

To avoid doubt, 'business' for the purposes of identifying Farm Land has the same meaning as that given to it by section 2(1) of the Valuation of Land Act 1960 for the same purpose, being a business that:

  1. has a significant and substantial commercial purpose or character; and
  2. seeks to make a profit on a continuous or repetitive basis form its activities on the land; and
  3. is making a profit from its activities on the land, or that has a reasonable prospect of making a profit from its activities on the land if it continues to operate in the way that it is operating.

Rating Objectives:

  1. To ensure that all rateable land makes an equitable and efficient financial contribution to the cost of carrying out the functions of Council generally, including the:
    1. construction and maintenance of public infrastructure;
    2. development and provision of health and community services; and
    3. provision of general support services.
  2. To encourage and support the business of primary production and, where appropriate, expand the business of primary production.

These objectives will be met by setting the Farm Land differential at 100% of the Residential Land differential and by the provision of a farm rebate under Section 169 of the LGA.

Petroleum Production Land – means any land that is:

  1. used primarily for the production or conveyance of petroleum and/or petroleum by-products; and
  2. described as all that land generally bounded more or less by Princes Highway, Shell Parade, Corio Bay Foreshore, Wharf Road, Station Road and neighbouring land.

Rating Objective:

To ensure that all rateable land makes an equitable and efficient financial contribution to the cost of carrying out the functions of Council generally, including the:

  1. construction and maintenance of public infrastructure;
  2. development and provision of health and community services; and
  3. provision of general support services.

The Petroleum Production Land differential is set at 367% of the Residential Land differential with the long term intention that the Petroleum Production Land differential will move closer to the Industrial Land differential over time.


Cultural and Recreational Land – means any land that:

  1. has the characteristics of 'recreational lands' as defined by the Cultural and Recreational Lands Act 1963; and
  2. the following organisations will be reviewed to confirm eligibility based on land use definition:
Assessment Ratepayer Property Address
2315 Bareena Bowling Club Incorporated 89 Noble Street, NEWTOWN VIC 3220
75017 Bell Park Sports Club 10 Lynnburn Road, BATESFORD VIC 3213
18010 Barwon Rowing Club Inc. 2 Barwon Terrace, SOUTH GEELONG VIC 3220
18011 Geelong College Rowing Club 4 Barwon Terrace, SOUTH GEELONG VIC 3220
18012 Geelong Church of England Grammar School 6 Barwon Terrace, SOUTH GEELONG VIC 3220
18014 Geelong Rowing Association 8 Barwon Terrace, SOUTH GEELONG VIC 3220
18015 Corio Bay Rowing Club 10 Barwon Terrace, SOUTH GEELONG VIC 3220
18932 Geelong Race Course Trustees 99 Breakwater Road, BREAKWATER VIC 3219
19004 Royal Geelong Agricultural & Pastoral Society Inc 79 Breakwater Road, BREAKWATER VIC 3219
14860 Royal Geelong Yacht Club 25 Eastern Beach Road, GEELONG VIC 3220
18125 Geelong Eastern Park Bowling Club Inc 51-55 Garden Street, EAST GEELONG VIC 3219
12265 Geelong Football Club Limited 360 Moorabool Street, SOUTH GEELONG VIC 3220
14226 East Geelong Golf Club 401 Eastern Park Circuit, EAST GEELONG VIC 3219
17308 East Geelong Recreation Reserve Committee 137-139 McKillop Street, GEELONG VIC 3220
12466 Western Beach Boat Club Inc 74-90 Western Foreshore Road, GEELONG VIC 3220
19948 Highton Bowling Club Inc 204 Roslyn Road, HIGHTON VIC 3216
34824 Barwon Heads Golf Club Incorporated 1A Golf Links Road, BARWON HEADS VIC 3227
27814 Belmont Bowling Club Incorporated 16-36 Reynolds Road, BELMONT VIC 3216
28619 Geelong Lawn Tennis Club Incorporated 12-20 Sommers Street, BELMONT VIC 3216
28620 Geelong Bowls Club Incorporated 4-10 Sommers Street, BELMONT VIC 3216
41419 Geelong Pistol Club Inc 70-80 Williams Road, MOUNT DUNEED VIC 3217
75364 Western District Car Club and Geelong Motor Sports Complex Inc 55 Beach Road, AVALON VIC 3212
76277 Beckley Park Committee of Management Inc 40 Broderick Road, CORIO VIC 3214
78578 Croatian Community Centre of Geelong (Inc) 172 Cox Road, CORIO VIC 3214
81781 Australian Croatian Sporting Centre and North Geelong Warriors Soccer Club Inc 15 Gibbons Road, LARA VIC 3212
86079 Geelong Trailable Yacht Club Inc 105 Mackey Street, NORTH GEELONG VIC 3215
51189 Clifton Springs Golf Club Inc 62-88 Clear Water Drive, CLIFTON SPRINGS VIC 3222
51336 Clifton Springs Bowling Club 39 Springs Street, CLIFTON SPRINGS VIC 3222
51643 Drysdale Bowling & Croquet Club Inc 19-29 Collins Street, DRYSDALE VIC 3222
55682 Lonsdale Golf Club PARENT - 28 Gill Road, POINT LONSDALE VIC 3225
56256 Portarlington Sailing Club 219 Point Richards Road, PORTARLINGTON VIC 3223
56261 Portarlington Bowls Club Incorporated 2A Harding Street, PORTARLINGTON VIC 3223
56282 Indented Head Boat Club Inc 326A The Esplanade, INDENTED HEAD VIC 3223
56284 Indented Head Yacht Club 326B The Esplanade, INDENTED HEAD VIC 3223
56302 St Leonards Yacht Club & Motor Squadron 1001 Lower Bluff Road, ST LEONARDS VIC 3223
59153 Portarlington Golf Club 92-160 Hood Road, PORTARLINGTON VIC 3223
60281 Leopold Sportsmans Club Inc 131-139 Kensington Road, LEOPOLD VIC 3224
61065 Ocean Grove Bowling Club Incorporated 16-24 The Terrace, OCEAN GROVE VIC 3226
63059 St Leonards Bowling Club 1274 Murradoc Road, ST LEONARDS VIC 3223
71282 Ocean Grove Golf Club Incorporated 9 Guthridge Street, OCEAN GROVE VIC 3226
72825 Geelong Watersports Club Inc 493-499 Wilsons Road, ST ALBANS PARK VIC 3219
103216 Lagoon Boat Club Inc 200 Foreshore Road, CORIO VIC 3214
112395 Belrec Incorporated 68 Calvert Street, HAMLYN HEIGHTS VIC 3215
112396 North Shore Football & Netball Club Inc 39 Rose Avenue, NORLANE VIC 3214
113283 Lara Sporting Club Incorporated 4 Mill Road, LARA VIC 3212
115653 Corio Bay Sailing Club 180 Foreshore Road, CORIO VIC 3214
806676 Norlane Bowling Club Incorporated 26-36 St Georges Road, CORIO VIC 3214
813371 Lara Bowling Club Inc 10 Alkara Avenue, LARA VIC 3212
821417 Herne Hill Bowls Club Inc 200 McCurdy Road, FYANSFORD VIC 3218
901556 Seabrae Boat Owners Club Inc 302 Clifton Avenue, LEOPOLD VIC 3224
902805 Barwon Heads Bowling Club Inc 18 Geelong Road East, BARWON HEADS VIC 3227
919267 Lonsdale Golf Club 69 Fellows Road, POINT LONSDALE VIC 3225
920726 City of Geelong Bowls Club Inc 7-9 Ballarat Road, NORTH GEELONG VIC 3215

If the ratepayer is not eligible then the transitional rebate may apply.


5. Council Policy

5.1. Statement of Principles

5.1.1. The application of the rating strategy should be simple, efficient, and include a mechanism that contains principles of public benefit taxation.
5.1.2.. While general rates are not a 'user pays' mechanism, elements of the rating strategy will embrace the 'user pays' principle where practicable. Council may consider the imposition of specific costs that may warrant the striking of new or higher differentials. The investigation of new differentials will be conducted as appropriate.
5.1.3. Rating must ensure that there is sufficient funding to meet the cost of providing and maintaining infrastructure, assets and services for the benefit of current and future communities.
5.1.4. The City of Greater Geelong applies a Capital Improved Valuation (CIV) method to all properties within the municipality to take into account the full development value of the property. This method is applied irrespective of whether the property is subject to rates or exempt under legislation. Council recognises that people with higher value properties generally have higher wealth and a greater ability to meet the provision of Council services.
5.1.5. Rating, through the application of higher differentials, recognises the ability of some ratepayers to obtain concessions from the tax deductibility of Council rates and provides for a series of differential rates. This takes into account low economic return to large landholdings, avoidance of distortions in the market or an ability to contribute above the standard charge.
5.1.6. Rating shall endeavour to promote and encourage economic development throughout the municipality.
5.1.7. The Farm Land differential is intended to recognise the benefits of large land holdings, open space and what has traditionally been a lesser demand upon Council services per land area held. Council has used a combination of a differential rate and a rebate under Section 169 of the LGA in order to maintain the status of farms as the lowest rated tariff group.
5.1.8. Vacant Land is rated at a higher rate in the dollar than Residential Land to encourage the development of the land and discourage future subdivisions ahead of market elements.
5.1.9. To promote equity in rating, a "Municipal Charge" may be used or, where appropriate, an ex-gratia amount may be negotiated.


5.2. Rating Strategy

Parameters to be considered in developing Rating Strategy:

5.2.1. Rate Differentials (or "RateTypes"):
Under Section 161(1) of the LGA.
Council will apply differential rates to ensure there is flexibility in the rating model to enable rates to be raised at different levels.
Council has considered its differential rates in the context of the range of revenue instruments available to it and has determined that differential rates are the most appropriate means of meeting Council’s stated objectives.
The investigation of introducing new differentials will proceed budget discussions. 
5.2.2. Municipal Charge:
Under Section 159(1) of the LGA
Council will apply a "Municipal Charge" to ensure some of its fixed administrative costs are recovered as a uniform contribution by all of its ratepayers.
(Note: Council intent is to continually review the charge over time, noting that it can total no more than 20% of the total rate income as required by Section 159(2) of the LGA.).
5.2.3. Service Rates & Charges:
Under Section 162(1) of the LGA
Council has service rates and charges to recover the full cost of the service from the user through an annual charge, for example: the waste management / garbage charge is determined annually in accordance with cost and service.
From 1 July 2016 a user pays system will be introduced for an additional bin service. 
5.2.4. Special Rates & Charges:
Under Section 163(1) of the LGA
Council has special rates and charges to defray the cost for the performance of a function that is of special benefit to any specific ratepayer group (refer Council Policy Special Rates & Charges).
5.2.5. Ex Gratia Rates
Council has "Ex Gratia Rates" to gain contributions towards its operational costs from those property owners which are otherwise exempt from paying rates. Council's intent is to align ex gratia contributions as close, or equivalent, to the applicable rate category for that property as possible, subject to particular circumstances.


5.3. Other Legislative Provisions (LGA)

5.3.1. Section 157 of the LGA provides that Council may use the "Site Value", "Net Annual Value" or "Capital Improved Value" system of valuation. ("Capital Improved Valuation" is currently used by Council).
5.3.2. Section 158 of the LGA requires Council to declare rates and charges by 31 August each year.
5.3.3. Section 158A of the LGA requires rates and charges to be levied on each occupancy.
5.3.4. Section 161(5) of the LGA requires that the highest differential must be no more than 4 times the lowest differential.


5.4. Incentives, Discounts and Rebates

5.4.1. For 2018-2019 Council do not grant rebates or concessions to assist the proper development in full or part unless a Council resolution as per the LGA specifies the benefit to the community as a whole. 
5.4.2. Council offers support by way of sponsorships, grants and donations to specific groups as an alternative to rate rebates.
5.4.3. Council administers the State Government funded pension rebate according to the eligibility criteria set by the State Government. 
5.4.4.  Council declares a Farm Rebate to support the continuation of broad acre farming. The Farm Rebate is fixed at 36.3% of general rates payable in respect of each assessment that is subject to the Farm Land differential.
5.4.5.  Council declares a transitional rebate for 50% of the difference between the Cultural and Recreational differential of the otherwise applicable differential. Properties that were eligible for the Cultural and Recreational differential in 2016-17 that are no longer eligible in 2017-18 will be encouraged to apply for this rebate.


5.5. Rates Waivers

Rates Assistance will be reviewed annually as part of the Budget process and published within Council's Rating Strategy. Ratepayers will be provided with a range of payment options. Applications for hardship will be considered in accordance with Sections 170 and 171 of the LGA.

5.5.1. Council declares a waiver of general rates under Section 171A of the LGA for the class of persons comprised of ratepayers in respect of assessments which are categorised as Residential Land or Farm Land where the valuation of the assessment has increased, between the 2016 valuation and the 2018 valuation, by 45% or more and that increase is purely attributable to market factors, not attributable, in whole or in part, to improvements made to the assessment by the owner (or occupier). The amount of the waiver is set at:
  5.5.1.1. Between 25% and 49.99% of the general rates payable for the 2018-19 financial year, increasing pro rata according to the valuation increase, for valuation increases between 45% and 54.99%; and
  5.5.1.2. 50% of the general rates payable for the 2018-19 financial year for valuation increases of 55% or more.
  The waiver is designed to mitigate the rates shock of a valuation increase and can only be claimed in respect of an assessment once in a two year valuation cycle.
5.5.2. Council declares a Housing Support waiver of 100% of general rates and municipal charge under Section 171 of the LGA for the class of persons comprised of ratepayers in respect of assessments which contain the following types of housing:
  5.5.2.1. transitional, emergency or crisis housing;
  5.5.2.2. housing for Legatees or War Widows, provided by the Geelong Legacy Club or provided by RSL; and
  5.5.2.3. supported housing for disabled people.
  This waiver recognises that these properties provide for specific needs within the community.
5.5.3. For 2018-19 financial year, Council declares a waiver of 100% of general rates and municipal charge under Section 171 of the LGA for the class of persons comprised of ratepayers in respect of assessments which are in private ownership within the inappropriate subdivision known as New Corio Estate. This rates assistance waiver recognises the financial burden associated with ownership of this land.  Land within the New Corio Estate is zoned as farming land and the area has been determined to be an inappropriate subdivision due to the difficulty of providing utilities and drainage and due to its distance from other residential areas. The Minister for Environment & Climate Change has approved a native vegetation plan for this land in support of natural temperate grassland of the Victorian Volcanic Plains. The waiver recognises the ongoing encumbrances on the land that prevent owners from making any demands on Council services now and into the future.


5.6. Rate Review

5.6.1. Rateable and non-rateable land shall be subject to regular review and audit.
Rateable land is reviewed:
  • upon revaluation;
  • when building permits or subdivisions occur;
  • where a parcel of land may have more than one land use;
  • if the creation of a separate assessment on a parcel of land is required;
  • upon sale and transfer of land;
  • upon inspection by Council; and
  • upon application and inquiry by the ratepayer.
Non-rateable land shall be reviewed bi-annually in respect to its continuing classification as non-rateable land.


5.7. Policy Review

5.7.1. This Policy and Rating Strategy shall be reviewed annually during budget development and endorsed by Council. 


6. Quality Records

Quality Records shall be retained for at least the period shown below.

Record Retention/Disposal Responsibility Retention Period Location
Adopted Budget Manager – Financial Services   Corporate Records


7. Attachments

None.




Is this information helpful?
Yes No

Page last updated: Friday, 14 June 2019
Print