Council endorses Special Rate Variation Application lodged with IPART

Published on 23 February 2023


At its February 2023 Ordinary Council Meeting, Council endorsed a recommendation for Bellingen Shire to proceed with an application to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) for a Special Rate Variation (SRV).

An application to IPART by Council will be submitted by Friday 3 March 2023.

“Today, Council made the difficult but, in our view, the necessary decision to approve a recommendation to proceed with an application to IPART for a Special Rate Variation,” Bellingen Shire Mayor, Cr Steve Allan said.

“The decision to apply for an SRV is aimed at ensuring that Council has the financial stability to continue delivering a level of service that our community has come to expect. The costs associated with delivering these services have been significantly impacted by inflationary pressures, such as elevated oil prices and supply chain disruptions.

“I want to sincerely thank our community members who took the time to provide Council with feedback during our consultation period. Council took into consideration over 100 submissions, which were included as part of the detailed Council report tabled at our February Ordinary Meeting today.

“We understand that this is a difficult period for many in our community. An increase in rates is never welcome news and not something that Council wants to be doing. However, global inflationary pressures have placed us in a difficult position that we are working to address.

“It is important to recognise that an application for an SRV is not the only option Council has considered to improve its overall financial stability. Many budgetary savings and operational efficiencies have already been facilitated through its Financial Strategy and Action Plan, with more targeted savings in the coming years.

“Council will continue to review its financial sustainability and look for further budgetary savings that generate continued and sustained efficiencies across all of its operations.”

The application is for a permanent four-year SRV, including 8% increases in 2023-24 (inclusive of the 4.5% rate peg) and 2024-25, followed by 6% increases in 2025-26 and 2026-27. The cumulative increase over the four years is 31.06%.

Community members will have additional opportunities to provide feedback directly to IPART as part of the application process and details on how to have your say can be found on their website

You can find more detailed information regarding the Special Rate Variation on Council’s SRV Information Centre webpage:

What’s Next?

Council is required to submit the SRV application to The NSW Independent Regulatory and Pricing Tribunal (IPART) by Friday 3 March 2023.

IPART will evaluate the submission and undertake their own community consultation. Community members will have the opportunity to give their feedback directly to IPART for their consideration.

IPART will advise Council of their determination by June 2023 and the 2023/24 Budget will be adopted based on IPART’s recommendation.