The Meeting Place

Council Rates and GRV, surely they should be revised downwards?

Now that the housing market has been on the downturn for the last five years, plus the interest rates from the banks has been cut to 1.5 per cent or lower, should the Gross Rental Value base be reduced? Or should the local government place a limit on the increases set by the area councils that we live in? I know we pensioners get a discount, but after the discount, I am still paying 100 per cent more than five years ago! And my pension is the same.

What are others feeling about this?


If you can find a loan from a bank at 1.5% or lower would you kindly let me know? But what does that have to do with the Valuer General's view on property values?

Council rates are a scam. My valuation this year is much lower than last as prices have dropped in my suburb. 

So of course I expected to pay less. WRONG 

it doesn’t matter what the valuation is they change the factor by which the valuation is multiplied by to increase my rates yet again.

The accompanying note says my rates have only increased by the allowed 2.5 percent HOWEVER, the factor that is is multiplied by has increased by 12 percent. 

Such deliberately misleading information is appalling!

You misunderstand how rates are calculated. The 2.5% cap applies to increase in the total rates revenue. The rate in the dollar is determined by dividing total property values into the required total rates revenue. Your rates are then determined by multiplying that rate by your property value. Your rates will increase more than 2.5% if value of your property as a proportion of the total value of all properties in your area has increased.


Generally councils charge exorbitant rates because there is no natural competition and so much overspending, waste, bureaucracy, inefficient staff, long lunches etc. If there was a rebiller like iselect, comparethemarket etc prepared to survey and compare councils they may get more business from the public. I know they would not get commissions from such as councils but it would raise their credibility in customers' eyes.

I suspect most states have a website to compare councils. In Victoria you can go to The easiest way to influence council is monitoring its budgets and reports and maintaining an open line to your representatives on the council.

True, there seems to be no general community will to hold Councils to modest expenditure. Certainly there is extremely minimal competition involved. I suspect that there are few rate bills anywhere in Australia which have not doubled in the last decade.

Wages have not achieved that or at best representation anything remotely like it, not even by an order of magnitude. If you take out gently increasing government wages and those earnt in Government supported or mandated areas there has been a real fall in remaining incomes and even with those inflated incomes there was a drop of 0.5% in the 5 years to last years.

People have come to expect more garbage collection, more street and footpath maintenance, more and better 'services', support for more organisations both non-profit making and business related, more functions, exhibitions and festivals, bigger more expensive public edifaces and shows of being seen to do the popular thing. On top of that they weigh down business with more demands (affordable housing -Sydney City.) Councils have increased their by-laws and control and they have had radically increased demands put on their policing function for any number of Acts and standards and this has impacted their already generous attitude toward the need for greater staffing. 

There seems to be no will to curb the unnecessary.

Two decades ago plus I visited a small country council office. In the small main town growth though uncontrolled was so respectful as to make it a coherent historic gem. People knew each other and felt responsibility. Councillors and their 3 office staff were proud to be able to find cost saving techniques and measures and to be able to call themselves the lowest rating council in australia. (I don't know how true or verifiable that claim may have been) The planning scheme was a one page document. Now the planning scheme is bible weight, office staffing runs around 20 and and naturally rates have increased to develop and deal with this. Population has declined marginally. More people ponder everything, everything takes more time, costs more and the people feel and are less responsible. Still, the State government calls for amalgamation...more people pondering, more cost, less responsibiiity.  

Even with this massive change I visited again last year and a farmer who straddles two shires told me that for 20% of his property within the neighbouring shire he pays just short of the rates he pays this shire for 80% of his property.

It seems to me that, this shire apart, when people get into government their objective somehow changes to two things; back covering and erection of grand images to themselves. And, nobody seems to be seriously calling them to account.



Local councils are the most corrupt layer in government at this time and make up the rules to suit themselves instead of applying existing laws and serving ratepayers and residents.

i recently objected to a proposed apartment building citing 25 breaches of the building code.

i received a letter confirming receipt of my objections and advising that the permit had nevertheless been issued on the basis that the developer had made a generous contribution towards” green space “ in the suburb.

Still I guess this development is not as bad as the one in South Yarra reported in the Sun A few days ago where there was a gap of 11.5 centimetres between existing balconies and the new construction going up.

Do you know if the 25 breaches have been addressed? You may want to pursue your objections in light of the high-rise building problems that have occurred in NSW and swing in public sympathy for enforcing building regulations.

To me its disgusting no environment consideration

Your objection would have been to the development (or planning approval) Robbie. While at planning some thought will be given to building related matters and advice given in relation to those. Building Code compliance, however, is essentially a matter for the next stage, Building Approval (takes different names here and there and depending upon when and how approval is sought or demanded.)

It may be that you were correct in all 25 matters and these may all have been addressed one way or another at building approval, or, unfortunately, overlooked at some point between Development Approval and completion of construction. If overlooked then Farside's note does offer recourse. It is less a matter of public sympathy than the necessity that the BCA be complied with but it still may be fixed.

Planning however is interested in applying the constraints of the adopted planning scheme. Should these not be applied then the  primary recourse is for appeal. Understandably this can be an expensive business. Understandable because everybody wants to give their project or ideas the best chance of adoption and where a community or a developer happens to have deeper pockets considerably more funds can be exhausted on hot-shot planners or planning lawyers by one side than the other. If these have to prepare for an appeal of 4 or 5 days, $50,000 in costs is certainly far from uncommon plus the cost of architects and other experts (which are usually much less) along with the possibility that  costs could be awarded against the appellant if frivolous or the like.  

The community does have the statutory planners at hand to investigate and to investigate their objections for fit with the Scheme. Once their recommendation/decision has been made and ratified or rejected by Council if necessary, there are time (and other) limits on the ability to appeal. As an objector you would have been advised of that capacity. This leaves you in the sometimes unenviable position of needing to weigh the cost against the likely gain.

The link farside gave was quite good except it didnt really give a straightforward rates comparison which I believe is needed.

thanks Farside for going the extra mile, thats great

After recovering from the usual rates hike ... have just received my latest House & Contents Insurance.

Leaves the cost of rates in the shade sadly, even with many discounts applied.

Just went through this exercise for three different properties (mine, brother and mother) and managed to get my brother and mother average 35% less by churning. Do not automatically re-sign to your existing provider without first obtaining quotes from at least your bank and another well reputed insurer. Do not pay extra for monthly debits and do not pay annual amount unless given decent discount. Do not overvalue your house or contents.

Good one RnR

"is no more", "has ceased to be", "bereft of life, it rests in peace", "its defunct", "this is an ex-cocky"

I am sure you will be OK though, like cats, Cockys have a few things up their sleeves. 

LOL Jaid.

Soon we'll be paying more rates than the value of our home if the rates goes up by 2.5% each year 

Councils double dip the value of home mostly go up and the rate goes up . so council rates go up double

Rule of 72 is your friend ... annual increase of 2.5% will take almost 29 years to double your rates. Councils do not double dip and rates do not go up double. Letting the hyperbole get away from you Virginia ....

Councils are a blight on the nation. I see no real need for them and think they should be extinct like the dinosaurs.

Farside we don't have a 2.5 cap in SA.

You may not have a rate cap in SA but even in SA the cost of your annual rates bill won't exceed the property value any time soon.


Farside the SA goverment has just past a waste levie to local councils. I my council area now we are looking at a 3.25 increase.

Quite a price hike ozrog.

South Australian ratepayers will be slugged an additional $8.5 million through a whopping 40% increase to the Solid Waste Levy, announced in the 2019/20 State Budget.

The Levy is currently $100 a tonne in metropolitan areas, but will rise to $110 on 1 July 2019, and $140 on 1 January 2020. The levy hike will also hit regions, where the levy is based on 50% of the metro rate.

Local Government Association of SA President Sam Telfer said it "was an outrage that the State Government has launched this stealth attack on ratepayers by jacking up its Solid Waste Levy by 40% only one week after hypocritically levelling misleading and unwarranted criticism at councils for some of the lowest rates rises in recent years."