The Local Government Act 1989 allows Victorian Councils to impose a special rate, a special charge, or a combination of both, for works or services on ratepayers who receive “special benefit” from these works or services.
If we implement a special rate or charge scheme, it's usually because:
- Our Engineering Services team has investigated a resident’s complaint or request and found a need to provide infrastructure
- The nature of the works (when considering our policies) will likely provide a “special benefit” to a group of people.
We have implemented a number of these schemes for the construction of unmade roads and for promotional activities in shopping centres. Read more on Current Special Charge Schemes.
What is “Special Benefit”?
“A work is of special benefit to a portion of a local authority area if the lands comprising that portion derive from the work a benefit which is not shared by other lands or a benefit which is additional to, or greater than, that which is derived by other lands” - The High Court of Australia.
What is the Procedure?
The level of preliminary investigation, survey, and consultation depends on the complexity of issues surrounding the proposed infrastructure.
Once our team determines the need for a scheme, a report is prepared for our consideration. We may stipulate further investigation or consultation with affected property owners.
We’ll resolve our intention to declare the scheme. Then provide notice in accordance with the Act, which governs our actions and considerations. Once the procedures contained within the Act have been followed, we may declare a special rate or a special charge.
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) hears any appeals made in relation to our declaration of a special rate or special charge.
We’ve paid Rates for Years. Why Don’t You Provide the Roads and Drains?
Rates go towards provision of many services. We usually only implement schemes where infrastructure was not initially provided by the original land developer, and so needs to be built for the first time.
Before the Act was changed in 1989, we were able to provide necessary infrastructure by implementing Private Street schemes, Drainage schemes, Half Cost schemes and Separate Rate schemes. Previously we could require property owners to contribute to roads and stormwater drainage construction.
Obligation on land developers, and our ability to stipulate provision of services, has changed. We are now more able to make developers contribute to the cost of infrastructure.
Rates and Infrastructure
The amount of the rates paid reflects the level of infrastructure provided. For example, the rates collected from the North Sunshine Industrial Area will generally be lower than another area with all services supplied.