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Friday, 22 January 2021

What's rates harmonisation all about? 

We are required by the NSW Government to harmonise the rating structures of the former Manly, Pittwater and Warringah council areas by 1 July 2021. This is a requirement of the NSW Government by 1 July 2021.

Why are we changing the existing rating system?

Rates harmonisation will provide a fair and equitable approach to rates collection, ensuring those with the same land value pay the same rates for the same level of Council services and infrastructure.

This has presented Council with a difficult challenge. We need to introduce the new and fairer rates system while being mindful of the impacts any sudden changes may have on individual ratepayers.

At present, rates are still being charged three different ways with the former Warringah area contributing a higher income percentage as a proportion of land values, followed by the former Pittwater area and then the former Manly area.

Is Council collecting more rates from these changes?

No. Council will not be collecting more rates income as a result of harmonisation, just collecting
it more equitably.

So, what’s changing?

Over the last six months we have extensively modelled a number of options including three using the rating structure of the former council areas and one a weighted average of the three. Under the model being highlighted for consultation (the weighted average model) 76% of residential ratepayers will see a reduction in their annual rates and 62% of business ratepayers. 

What will it mean to me?

We have created a calculator which allows you to input your address so you can see an estimate of the impact for your property.

What allowances are being made for the impacts of COVID-19?

We know, especially in a COVID economic environment, that any increases could be difficult for ratepayers.

That’s why we have successfully advocated to the NSW Government for a change to legislation which will allow us to gradually implement harmonisation over four years for ad valorem ratepayers.

As an additional support for COVID recovery, there is an option to consider no harmonisation changes until 2022/23.

Note: these measures are subject to State Government legislative changes and adoption by the elected Council.

Other changes on public exhibition

As part of this process, Council is proposing to offer all eligible pensioners the most generous concession scheme of the former three council areas (the former Warringah scheme) and broaden the provisions for people to qualify for financial hardship assistance.

We are also consulting on the application of the stormwater management charge, to which former Manly and Pittwater ratepayers already contribute. It is proposed to apply this charge across the remainder of the Northern Beaches to ensure we can continue to improve ageing stormwater infrastructure to protect people and properties from flooding and protect the health of our waterways.

How do I learn more and have my say?

You can register to attend an information session, watch a webinar and have your say here.

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