Have your say on draft Rating Strategy
Thank you to everyone who provided feedback recently on our draft Rating Strategy 2022-2027.
We have incorporated your feedback and recommendations, and are inviting you to review the updated draft here.
The proposed changes in the updated draft Rating Strategy 2022-2027 include:
- phasing out the land management rate over a two-year period
- a proposal to reduce the farm rate
- plans to increase the commercial rate.
In addition, the definition of commercial land will be changed to include residential properties that are predominantly used for short-term accommodation, reflecting Council’s actual practice.
Share your feedback
Council is inviting submissions from the community on the draft Rating Strategy 2022-2027.
Submissions must be made in writing and clearly marked as Draft Rating Strategy to firstname.lastname@example.org or lodged by post to PO Box 185, Castlemaine VIC 3450.
If you are making a submission, please indicate whether you wish to speak to Councillors in person at a special meeting of Council on Tuesday 14 September at 6.00pm about your reviews on the draft Rating Strategy.
Submissions close at 5.00pm on Friday 10 September 2021.
For more information, call 5471 1700 or email email@example.com.
Background to consultation
Every five years, Mount Alexander Shire Council reviews and updates how we set rates for properties in the shire. This is our Rating Strategy.
This is a great opportunity to help establish the principles that will guide setting rates.
The Rating Strategy is about determining how we charge rates on different kinds of properties. We can increase rates charged on businesses, or farms, or lower them. In the end, total rates collected will be unchanged, but different rates can encourage or discourage different uses of land here in the shire.
The Strategy is NOT about how high your rates are, or how valuations of properties are conducted.
What are rates?
Rates are an important part of your council's ability to deliver essential community infrastructure and services.
The rates we collect are a form of property tax. The value of each property is used as the basis for calculating what each property owner will pay.
The video below gives a clear explanation of how rates work, and why they're important.
What's a rating strategy?
Our rating strategy is a plan which will determine how we apply rates to different types of property.
Our current strategy outlines six distinct categories of rates:
- General - land with homes on them are charged rates at the general rate. Other rates are set at a certain percentage of the general rate. Any vacant land that can’t be developed for residential purposes will be charged at the general rate.
- Commercial - land which is occupied for the principal purpose of producing or selling goods or services. These properties are charged at 130% of the general rate.
- Farms - land with an area greater than 2 hectares that undertakes a farming activity. Farms rates are set at the same level as the general rate.
- Our shire also has a special category, the Land Management Rate. It was created to encourage farms and properties of over 20 hectares that undertake activities to protect biodiversity and native vegetation. A good example is properties that have removed or are actively removing noxious weeds like Wheel Cactus, Blackberry, Gorse, Paterson’s Curse, Cape Broom, St Johns Wort and Sweet Briar Rose. These properties are charged at 80% of the general rate.
- Vacant land - residential land that is subject to rates that does not have a home on it. Vacant land is charged at double the general rate.
- Cultural and recreational - land including sporting grounds, or cultural spaces like Buda Gardens in Castlemaine, as defined by the Cultural and Recreational Lands Act 1963. Cultural and recreational properties do not pay rates.
Properties can also receive a 100% rebate on their rates for any portion of their land covered by a Trust for Nature Covenant (TFNC).
|Property type||Current rate (% of general rate)||% of rates revenue|
|Land Management Rate||80%||7.4%|
|Cultural and recreational||0%||0%|
By contributing to our survey, you can help us make crucial decisions around the next five years of rates. Are the current categories appropriate? Should there be additional categories? Fewer categories? Should the rates applied to each category be different?
What kinds of behaviours do we want to encourage by offering lower rates or rebates? Let us know in the survey.