About the Special Rate Variation

Council has worked with the community through a number of rate increase options with a reduced independent recommendation scenario being put forward in our application to IPART.

On 15 June 2023 IPART announced Council was successful in its application for a 9.5% rate increase per year for 3 years.

Special Rate Variation (SRV) Factsheet

SRV Scenarios

As part of the Special Rate Variation being approved Council has increased the assistance available under the Rates Assistance Program.

Assistance of up to $500 may be available to individuals or families who do not already receive a Council pensioner rate concession. Assistance of up to $250 may be available for pensioners on top of their $250 pensioner rate concession.

For further information and assistance, visit financial assistance for paying rates

To contact Council about your situation, you can:

As part of Council’s engagement and application to IPART for a Special Rate Variation, Council adopted the Integrated Planning and Reporting (IP&R) revised for a Special Rate Variation documents after being on public exhibition for 28 days. These plans outline the need and purpose for a special rate variation and how the funds would be spent if a rate rise was approved.

Council revises its IP&R documents annually see here the current version that includes details about the approved SRV.

The rate cap figure for the 2023-2024 financial year has been announced by IPART (Independent Productivity and Regulatory Tribunal). It's been set at 3.7% and Port Stephens has been recognised as a population growth area and can apply an additional 0.7% – taking the total rate increase to 4.4%.

Even though the rate cap for 2023-2024 is slightly higher than the budgeted 2.5%, it doesn't meet the current and anticipated inflation rates and Council would still be facing a forecasted shortfall of over $80 million over the next 10 years without an approved SRV. IPART have also indicated that Councils should continue to forecast rate capping increases of only 2.5%.

The approved SRV of 9.5% includes the rate cap. Meaning, for the 2023-2024 financial year the rate cap component is 4.4% and the special rate component is 5.1%. For years 2 and 3 of the SRV, the 9.5% will also include the rate cap.