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Council Rates and Water Rates

  • What is a council rate?
  • How are rates calculated?
  • Financial Hardship
  • What is water rate?
  • Who pays for what?

What is a council rate?

Each council collects rates from residents and businesses in its municipality to help fund its local community infrastructure and service obligations. Council rates are a form of property tax. Councils use property values as the basis for calculating how much each property owner pays in rates.

How are rates calculated?

Noting that all different councils use different methods to calculate and charge the rate.

  •  The “rate in the dollar”
  •  Property valuation
  •  Differential rates
  •  Service rates and charges
  •  Municipal charge

Financial Hardship

Generally councils have a hardship policy under which they may defer or waive all or part of any individual ratepayer’s liability in cases of genuine financial hardship.

If you are suffering financial hardship, or will suffer such hardship if you pay your rates, you may apply to the council for a waiver of all or part of your rates or a deferral of your rate payment.

Councils also have the power to waive part or all of any rate or charge on ratepayers who are concession card holders under the State Concessions Act 1986.

What is water rate?

The prices we pay for our water supply and it is guided by local councils and water cooperation.

Who pays for what?

Charges for water are levied in two distinct ways:

  •  Annual service charges (or “Water Rates”)
  • Water consumption charges

 Tenancy agreements can vary on who pays for the water consumption. Whatever is decided, make sure it’s in writing.

If you like more information or assistance regarding council rates or other tax related matters, complete and submit the Express Enquiry form on the top right hand side of this page and we will contact you to discuss your enquiry or call us on 1300 QUINNS (1300 784 667) or on +61 2 9223 9166 to arrange an appointment.


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The Quinn Group operates Quinn Consultants, Quinn Lawyers, Quinn Financial Planning and Quinn Financial Solutions. The Quinn Group provides related information in regard to legal, accounting and financial planning issues. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation* *other than for the acts or omissions of financial services licensees.