Local governments impose rates on the properties within their district to raise revenue to fund the services and facilities provided to residents and visitors.
The quantum of rates payable is determined by three factors: the method of valuation of the land, the valuation of the land and improvements, and the rate in the dollar applied to that valuation by the local government.
Land is rated according to its unimproved value for land used predominantly for rural purposes or gross rental value for land used predominantly for non-rural purposes.
The Valuer General values the land in accordance with the provisions of the Valuation of Land Act 1978. The local government sets a rate in the dollar which is applied to this valuation to give the rates liability for each property.
A local government may impose a single general rate which applies to all of the properties in the unimproved value or gross rental value category. Alternatively the local government can distinguish between land in either category on the basis of
its zoning, use or whether it is vacant land (or other characteristic set out in regulations), or a combination of these factors, and apply a differential general rate to each.
The purpose of the imposition of a differential general rate is generally to ensure that every landowner makes a reasonable contribution to the rate burden.
This document describes the legislative and policy basis for the application of differential general rates to land being rated by a local government. In particular, it sets out the policy that guides the Minister for Local Government’s exercise
of the power to approve the imposition of a differential general rate which is more than twice the lowest differential general rate imposed by that local government.
The second part of this document provides guidance for local governments in requesting such an approval.
In relation to 52A(1), Regulation 5 of Local Government (Financial Management) Amendment Regulations (No. 2) 2012 came into effect on 30 June 2012.
The Minister may approve the imposition of a differential general rate that is more than twice the lowest differential general rate imposed by that local government. Without that approval the difference between differential general rates imposed
by a local government is limited to two times in each of the unimproved value and gross rental value categories.
The Minister’s approval under section 6.33(3) will be made consistently with the key values of objectivity, fairness and equity, consistency, transparency and administrative efficiency. To that end, the Minister will not approve an application for
an approval under this policy (the application) unless the Minister is satisfied of the following matters.
The guidance below is directed to an application for approval under section 6.33(3) for the imposition of a differential general rate which is more than twice the lowest differential general rate imposed by it.
The policy section of this document identifies the matters on which the Minister will want to be satisfied before he or she approves an application.
Before making an application, a local government should be satisfied that:
The starting point for a local government will be the matters identified under the key values of objectivity and consistency. The local government will need to ensure that all of the matters identified under those key values are addressed.
Once the local government is satisfied that it has addressed all the matters identified under the key values of objectivity and consistency, the local government will need to address the key value of fairness and equity. This includes the requirement
for the local government to give public notice of its intent to impose the differential general rates.
The Rating Policy – Giving Notice provides more information on this process. If there are fewer than thirty ratepayers affected in any differential rate category, the local government will need to contact those ratepayers directly. That
will involve the local government writing to the ratepayer, addressing each of the matters identified under that key value and giving the ratepayer at least 21 days to make submissions.
Once the local government has given public notice, written to the affected ratepayers if required, and received any submissions from ratepayers, the council of the local government will need to consider:
Even if the council has previously considered the matter, the council must consider the submissions and the other information and resolve to make the application to the Minister.
Once the council has resolved to make the application, the following should be sent to the Minister:
The Minister will then consider the application and may request more information from the local government before granting approval.
The ratepayer should respond constructively to a request for submissions by a local government considering imposing specified differential general rates.
In particular, the ratepayer should form a view as to whether the matters set out under the key values have been correctly addressed.
If the ratepayer considers that these matters have not been correctly addressed, the ratepayer should set out why they hold this view in their submission to the local government.
In their submission, the ratepayer should address any other matter which they wish the local government and the Minister (if applicable) to consider.
In considering an application, the Minister may request information from the ratepayer before making their decision.
The completed application form and relevant attachments must be sent to:
Executive DirectorSector Regulation and SupportDepartment of Local Government, Sport and Cultural IndustriesGPO Box 8349 Perth Business Centre WA 6849
The local government commences budget planning by reviewing the Corporate Plan and other relevant plans.
The council adopts the budget strategy and endorses objects and reasons for each differential rating category and each minimum payment.
In accordance with section 6.36(2)(a) of the Local Government Act 1995, the local government publishes a notice of its intention to impose differential general rates on or after this date.
(not including date of appearance)
Council considers submissions and determines appropriate level of differential rates.
Council decision to seek Ministerial approval for the imposition of differential general rates that fall within section 6.33(3).
A local government needs to allow three weeks for the processing of an application from the date all of the required information is received by the Department of Local Government and Communities.
The local government’s budget is to be adopted by 31 August under section 6.2(1) of the Local Government Act 1995. The budget cannot be adopted until after the Minister makes their decision.
Do not submit enquiries with this form.