The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal of NSW (IPART) is responsible for setting the amount by which Councils may increase their general income, which mainly comprises of rates income. Each year IPART determines a standard increase that applies to all NSW Councils, based on an assessment of the annual charge in Council costs and other factors. This increase is known as the rate peg.
Councils may apply to us for a special rate variation that allows them to increase their general income by more than the rate peg. IPART are required to assess these applications against criteria in the Guidelines set by the Office of Local Government (OLG), and may allow special variations under either section 508A or 508(2) of the Local Government Act 1993 (the Act).
Gilgandra Shire Council applied for a multi-year special variation from 2014/15, under section 508A. The Council requested an increase of 9.3% in 2014/15, 10% in 2015/16 and 10% in 2016/17, or a cumulative increase of 32.25% by 2016/17. After assessing its application, IPART decided to approve the variation as requested. IPART made this decision under section 508A of the Act.
IPART's decision enables Council to progressively increase funding for its rural roads program and to improve its long term financial sustainability. Council consulted with its community extensively to address these issues, both in reviewing its Integrated Planning and Reporting (IP&R) documents and in preparing its special variation application.