Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions Frequently Asked Questions Rates; Resident
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Who pays rates?

All landowners have to pay rates. This includes residential and business property owners.

What are rates used for?

Your rates fund a range of services and facilities for the community. Rates are the main source of income for councils in NSW.

How are my rates calculated?

Your rates are based on the value of your land, not on the value of any dwellings or improvements on it. Your land value is set by the NSW Government.

Ratepayers with land valued under a certain amount are classified as ‘minimum rate payers’ and will pay a set amount for their rates. This ensures the gap between what units (for example) and houses pay for the same Council services is not too large. For those ratepayers above the minimum rate, your rate is determined by a ‘rate in the dollar’ multiplied by your land value.

Will my rates change?

Yes, rates will change as of 1 July 2021. Rates change every year with the annual IPART CPI increase, and every three years when the Valuer General reviews land values.

What is different about the rate change this year?

This year amalgamated councils are required to ‘harmonise’ their rate structure.

Council is also proposing to add a Special Rate Variation to your rates (in addition to the annual IPART CPI increase), increasing the rate in the dollar you pay and the minimum rate for residential and business ratepayers.

This proposal is essential to securing Councils financial stability and sustainability to ensure generations to come are well placed to both benefit and enjoy living in Canterbury-Bankstown.

Why can’t my rates stay the same?

The NSW Government has legislated that all amalgamated Councils, including Canterbury-Bankstown, must ‘harmonise’ their rates as of 1 July 2021. As a result, Council is reviewing rates to apply a single, fair and equitable rates payment structure across the entire local government area.

What does harmonisation mean?

Harmonisation is just another word for making the rating structure equal or aligned across the City. So, if your residential land is valued by the NSW Government at $400,000 you will pay the same rates no matter where you live in the City. And if your residential land is valued at $400,000 you would be paying less overall than a person living on a property with residential land valued at $1 million. The same applies for business properties.

What is a Special Rate Variation?

If a Council wants to apply for a larger increase in rates than the annual IPART CPI increase they need to apply to the NSW Government for a Special Rate Variation (SRV). This needs to demonstrate not only the need but that the community has been informed of the proposal. To ensure the long-term financial sustainability of Council, CBCity is investigating applying for an SRV. Amalgamated councils have been restricted for applying for SRV increases until July 2021, no matter what financial position they were in.

Will I still get the Pensioner Rebate?

YES, residents who hold a pensioner concession card are still entitled to apply for a rate reduction. 

What is the minimum rate and who pays it?

Minimum rates are a specific rate, where a minimum amount is levied on each parcel of land, regardless of the land value. This mostly applies to apartments and units, as these dwellings share the land value of the land on which the apartments are built. As a result, they tend to pay substantially lower rates to that of houses. Councils set minimum rates to reduce the gap between what houses and apartments pay in their Local Government Areas. This is because all residents, whether they live in apartments or houses, use Council services like waste collection and local roads.

Why are my rates going up and not down?

Just like your cost of living at home, or in your business, costs go up over time.  The cost of electricity, goods and services all increase over time.  If Council is to continue to provide the services you expect then rates need to increase to keep pace with these rising costs.

How will Council spend any new money they receive?

Council has a large number of assets and facilities to maintain. These include roads, parks, buildings, sporting fields, footpaths, bushland, stormwater drains etc. New money will go towards the maintenance and upkeep of these assets.

In addition, new money will go towards improving our facilities and services across the city such as revitalising our town centres, upgrading our aquatic facilities, more cleaning programs and creating more public spaces and family friendly areas.

Can Council automatically increase the rates?

No. The total amount of income any Council can receive from rates is capped by the NSW Government. This can only increase in one of the following ways:

  • An annual allowable increase set by IPART (similar to CPI);
  • Increasing the number of ratepayers in the local government area (via development and growth);
  • Applying to IPART for a special rate variation.

Has Council already made its decision?

NO. Council is seeking feedback from the community on the proposed changes to the rates.
This consultation will run for approximately 7 weeks starting from 1 December 2020 and ending on 17 January 2021 and will allow our community to Have Your Say on the proposed changes. Council will then make a decision in February 2021.  However, the change will only occur if approved by IPART.

Why is Council consulting over Christmas and the January holiday period?

We acknowledge consulting over the holiday period is not ideal, but we are required to do so in order to meet IPART’s February deadline should Council decide to apply for an SRV. To compensate we have extended this exhibition period to 7 weeks (1 December 2020 to 17 January 2021).

When will Council decide on any rate changes?

Council needs to provide IPART with a rating structure proposal in early February 2021. This means Council will need to hold a special Council meeting in early February 2021 to make a decision. Until then, we will be conducting widespread consultation with the community. We encourage you to have your say!

What will be my options if I can’t pay my new rates?

If you are experiencing hardship and receiving Australian Government payments, you may be eligible for a rates deferral or payment arrangement.

What else is Council doing to improve its financial management / save money?

Through sensible budget management and service changes, CBCity has already recouped $7.6 million in efficiencies every year since amalgamation. At 305:1, or one staff member for every 305 residents, Council’s ratio of staff to population is the second lowest of all Sydney metropolitan councils. This contributes to CBCity’s low operating costs, which at around $800 per resident, is the fifth lowest operating cost of the metropolitan councils.

Council is committed to continuing our improvement program to identify ways to lower costs, market test services and review the capacity of current assets to deliver desired outcomes.

What other charges appear on my rates notice?

Council provides a domestic waste collection service. A charge for this service, Domestic Waste Management, is shown on your notice. Council may also levy an annual charge for any services prescribed by State Government Regulations, for example Stormwater Management and interest on overdue rates.

What is IPART?

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) is an independent authority that regulates pricing for water, public transport, electricity, gas and local government. IPART sets the maximum percentage amount by which NSW councils can increase their rate income each year.

How can I have my say or find out more?

You can do this by visiting or you can speak to us, call, write or email at the following:

Did Council already have an SRV?

The former Canterbury Council had two SRVs in place – one (an Infrastructure Renewal Levy) that was added to the rate income for a number of years (a temporary rate increase) and another that remains permanently in the rate income.

How do our rates compare with other Councils in NSW?

Council’s all across NSW are struggling with how to increase income and keep costs down. In 2018-2019 CBCity’s ranked 44th in NSW, or 19th in the Sydney Metropolitan region, for the average annual resident rate cost.

What is the proposed annual and cumulative % increase in Council rates' income over 5 years?

The proposed increase in Council's ordinary rates income (inclusive of estimated rate peg increases, special rate variation increases and changes as a result of the harmonisation process) is summarised in the table below. It should be noted that individual ratepayers' increases may be different from those shown below. This is because everyone's land value is different, and because rates are currently different across the City. The best way to see what the actual dollar impact will be for individual ratepayers is to use the rates calculator.

Year  Annual Increase %  Cumulative Increase %

More information is available here.