Following is a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions related to rates.
Please see attached example of a Rates Notice.
Standard charges include:
- Property rates
- Emergency Services Levy
- Waste facilities maintenance rate
- Waste charges including Rubbish and/or recycling collection fees.
Additional charges, where applicable, include:
- Swimming pool fee
- Cost of recovery of rates
- Penalty interest
- Instalment fees.
Under the Local Government Act 1995 (LG Act), all rateable properties within the shire are levied property rates.
Emergency Services Levy (ESL)
The Emergency Services Levy (ESL) fee amount is not imposed by the Shire. It is set by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services and funds Western Australia’s fire and emergency services, including Career and Volunteer Fire & Rescue Service brigades.
ESL charges are calculated based on numerous factors, including the ESL category your property falls under and your property's Gross Rental Value (GVR) or Unimproved Value (UV).
The Shire collects these funds on behalf of DFES through its annual Rates notice and passes on all ESL money collected to DFES in full.
For more information visit the DFES website.
Waste Facilities Maintenance Rate
The maximum rate as adopted by Council is applied to all rateable properties within the shire irrespective of their land use and characteristics (i.e. vacant land, multiple owned properties by one person). The levy is a contribution towards waste management operations including the Davis Rd landfill facility and waste transfer stations provided to ratepayers across the shire.
All revenue raised from the levy is used to fund upgrades and improvements to the Shire’s main landfill site at Davis Rd, operations required to maintain the transfer stations located around the shire and improvements to ensure effective waste management operations for the future. The Shire has a statutory requirement to utilise this revenue to fund waste management costs and ensure sustainable waste management operations now and into the future.
Waste Collection Charge
The Shire is committed to staying at the forefront of sustainability and maintaining an innovative and proactive approach to waste management.
From July 2019 the Shire rolled out the new kerbside collection, which includes 140L Landfill bin, 240L Recycling bin and 240L Food Organics Garden Organics bin (FOGO). The annual waste charges are levied on residential properties, one combined service charge applies for the 3 bin service. Other additional charges may apply depending on an individual properties waste requirements.
For more information on waste service please refer to Waste Service website.
The Shire has statutory requirements under the Waste and Recovery Resources Act 1997 (WARRS Act) to levy these charges.
Swimming Pool Inspection Fee
A swimming pool inspection fee may appear on your notice if you have a swimming pool or spa. The legislative requirement is that each pool is inspected every four years. The annual pool levy charge is a contribution towards this cost and the fee is listed in the Shire's Schedule of Fees and Charges. For more information, please contact our Building Services on (08) 9780 5255.
Costs of Recovery of Rates
Under the LG Act, all costs associated with ‘recovery of rates’ are recoverable from the ratepayer. Recover costs will show on the Rate Notice as legal fees. These costs are the result of the Shire following recovery processes which may require proceeding with legal action against owners of properties should they fail to pay the annual rates by the required due dates.
Rates ensure the Shire can continue to develop and maintain essential programs, services, facilities and infrastructure.
‘Rates’ is a term commonly used when referring to all items appearing on the annual Rate Notice. Rates are made up of property rates as well as other charges including the waste facility maintenance rate, waste collection charges, rural tips pass and ESL.
As the notice includes these other charges, the end result of the total amount levied on a property may increase over and above the percentage increase that is advertised. This is because the overall calculation is not as simple as taking last year’s rate notice and multiplying the total to get a percentage increase. The increase refers to the increase in the rate in the dollar and the minimum payments for property rates only and not the additional charges.
Each year the following charges may increase or decrease:
- Waste facility maintenance fee
- Waste collection charges or Rural tip pass
- Emergency Services Levy.
The Shire's Revenue Team can provide more information on:
- How your property rates are calculated
- The fees and charges component of your rate notice
- Differential rate categories – GVR and UV codes
- What to do if you feel any of the above are incorrect.
The Shire's Revenue Team can be contact on (08) 9780 5234.
Visit the Landgate website or call (08) 9273 7373 if you are seeking more information about:
- How property valuations are calculated
- What to do if you feel the valuation of your property is incorrect.
Contact your local Councillor if you want to discuss or are seeking further information about:
- The amount rates have increased from the previous year
- How rates and the long term financial plan correlate
- How the money collected from rates is spent within the Shire and in the community.
Go to Your Councillors
Rates are a contribution each ratepayer makes towards the cost of providing quality facilities, community buildings, recreational areas and efficient administrative services to our entire community and its many visitors.
Services provided by the Shire include upkeep of community facilities, including:
- Library services, public halls, public toilets, cemeteries, youth service
- Roads, drainage, verges, footpaths, streetscapes
- Health, sanitation, fire preventions
- Building control and operation of swimming pool, recreation centres, gyms, skate parks, playgrounds, ovals.
More information is provided on the How Rates are Used page.
Council ultimately decides what rates will be. The Shire's senior finance employees assist by compiling rating information, sourcing property valuation changes from Landgate and preparing rate model options. The rate modelling processes commence around April each year.
There are many factors that senior finance employees and the Council take into consideration when setting the rate in the dollar or minimum payments for each differential rating category. Factors include but are not limited to:
- Long Term Financial Plan
- Growth of rateable properties in the Shire during the year
- Landgate revaluation figures
- Legislative requirements under the Local Government Act 1995
- State Government changes and increases
- Policy FI.15 Shire Rating.
The Shire must meet legislative requirements when setting a rate in the dollar (presented in cents) and minimum payment for each differential rating category. In determining these figures, all properties within a differential rating category are used to calculate the percentage increase.
It is not possible to select a specific property when setting the rate in the dollar for a category. Once Council is satisfied, the rate model option is formally presented at an Ordinary Council Meeting. Councillors will then vote to approve the rate model for ‘advertising’.
The rate model for the coming financial year is then made public and advertised in the local paper. Ratepayers are invited to comment on the proposed rate in the dollar and minimum payment by lodging a submission in writing prior to the closing date. Submissions are open for a minimum of 21 days.
Feedback from ratepayer submissions are then compiled and presented to Council to take into consideration. The rate in the dollar and minimum payments together with intended waste facility maintenance rate, rubbish and recycling charges, instalment and administration fees and penalty interest rates are once again presented at an Ordinary Council Meeting. Council will discuss all aspects before taking a final vote to formally adopt the differential rates and charges.
Property rates and other charges then become part of the annual financial budget which must also be adopted by Council prior to rates billing. The ESL is an exception as it is set and approved by the State Government.
Most properties will receive an Annual Rates Notice by post mid August each year with a due date of early September.
Rates are calculated by multiplying a property’s Gross Rental Value (GRV) or Unimproved Value (UV) by the rate in the dollar set by Council, subject to minimum rates.
Gross Rental Value (GRV) is the fair rental value of your property as determined by the State Government (Landgate) Valuer-General and is an estimate of how much you could expect to receive if you were to rent your property.
Properties used for non-rural purposes e.g. urban residential, commercial etc. are valued using the GRV method.
Unimproved Value (UV) is the fair market value of your property as determined by the Valuer General’s Office and does not take into account any improvements on the land such as dwellings or outbuildings. Land used for rural purposes is valued using the UV method.
Landgate determines individual property GRV or UV. This has nothing to do with whether your property is rented or not - it is just an independent valuation of your property.
GRV is the fair rental value your property might reasonably be expected to earn annually if it were rented. When determining GRV of a residential property, the Valuer General (Landgate) considers several attributes and constraints including location, age, building area and construction materials, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and number of car shelters (garages/carports).
To find out more about GRV, visit landgate.wa.gov.au.
Example 3: If the minimum payment for General GRV is $1100.00 and the GRV x rate in the dollar calculation equates to $1020, then the $1100.00 will be applied.
UV is applied to properties in the Rural zones as listed under the Local Planning Scheme No 1 (LPS1).
A UV tiered differential rating system was introduced in July 2011. The system was introduced on a graduated scale or tiered approach as it provides the most equitable option for properties that have non rural uses such as commercial, industrial and tourism.
UV Rural - is the general rate that applies to properties with rural, residential and ancillary residential uses. It forms the base for all other UV rates in the dollar.
UV1 - applies where there is one non rural use and is 25% higher than UV Rural.
UV2 - applies where there are two non-rural uses and is 50% higher than UV Rural.
UV3 - applies where there are three or more non rural uses and is 75% higher than UV Rural.
UV Strata Vineyard - applies to a restricted land use and equates to the UV Rural rate in the dollar but has a lesser minimum rate.
UV Conservation - applies to properties zoned Bushland Protection, Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge Landscape Amenity, Leeuwin-Naturaliste Ridge Conservation and Southern Ocean Foreshore protection. These properties have some usage restrictions and their rating reflects this.
Landgate regularly sends Interim Schedules notifying the Shire of a change to a properties GRV or UV for various reasons as listed below:
- New dwellings
- Additions or improvements
- Sale of land
- Subdivisions of land
- Amalgamation of land.
The Shire will process the Landgate Schedules and issue an interim rate notice with the changes to the rates levied on the property.
Revaluation of Gross Rental Valuation (GRV) - occurs every 3 years effective from 1 July.
Revaluation of Unimproved Valuation (UV) – occurs every year effective from 1 July.
Differential rating allows the Shire to rate properties on different rates in the dollar and minimum payments. The rate in the dollar and minimum payments are applied based on factors other than the property’s valuation. The Shire has different rate categories for property zoning and/or land uses.
There are differential rating categories for both GRV and UV properties. The Rating Proposal 2022-23 document provides for further information on each of the rating categories.
The Shire applies a UV tiered rating system for properties on an unimproved valuation. The UV categories are applied based on the number of non-rural uses a property has been granted approval for by the Shire (i.e. Chalet = 1 non-rural use; chalet and winery = 2 non-rural uses).
If a ratepayer believes that the incorrect UV tiered category has been applied to their property, they must lodge an objection in writing providing justification for their request to change the UV category. The objection can be lodged by email to [email protected] or letter addressed to the Chief Executive Officer, Shire of Augusta Margaret River, PO Box 61, Margaret River WA 6285.
The Shire applies differential rating which is based on the zoning of the property and the land use of the property.
If you believe the differential rating category shown on your rate notice is incorrect, owners are required to lodge a written objection in writing to [email protected]
An example of an incorrect rating may be:
- My property is rated Tourism but I didn’t renew my holiday house approval or it has lapsed and I now live in the house permanently
- My property is rated Tourism however it isn’t used for tourism activities
- My property is rated Industrial and I have now demolished the workshop and no longer operate a business from the property
- My property is rated UV 1, UV2 or UV 3 and I am no longer operating a non- rural use on this land.
Your valuation (GRV or UV) is only one factor used to calculate your rates notice. The Valuation of Land Act 1978 (as amended) Part IV sets out the manner in which valuation objections and appeals may be lodged. A property owner may lodge an objection against the valuation of a property within 60 days of the date of issue of a rate notice.
For information on how your values are calculated and how to lodge an objection, please visit landgate.wa.gov.au/valuations, or alternatively call Landgate Customer Service on (08) 9273 7373.
Section 6.76 of the Local Government Act 1995 provides the grounds, time and the way individual objections and appeals to the Rates Record may be lodged. An objection to the Rate Book must be made in writing to the council within 42 days of the date of issue of a rates notice.
Section 6.81 of the Local Government Act 1995 refers that rates assessments are required to be paid by the due date, regardless of whether an objection or appeal has been lodged. In the event of a successful objection or appeal, the rates will be adjusted, and you will be advised accordingly. Credit balances will be refunded on request.
There are only two reasons under the Local Government Act which allow for an objection to paying rates:
- You are not the ratepayer. Which means you are not the owner of the rateable property; and
- The property is non rateable as per the Section 6.26 of the Local Government Act, which requires approval of the Council.
Unless either of these two criteria are met, there is a legal obligation to pay the debt to the Shire.
Interest is charged on outstanding amounts.
The Shire will follow the Debt Recovery Procedure to recover the monies due, where rates, service and waste charges remain unpaid after the due dates. Legal action will be progressed through a debt recovery firm. All costs associated with the process of legal action are recoverable from the ratepayer and will be added to the rates account.
If you are having trouble paying, contact the Revenue Team as early as possible to negotiate a payment plan to avoid the Shire commencing legal action.
Once legal action is instructed, it will immediately register a default in your credit rating, and a General Procedure Claim (GPC) will be served against you for the debt including the appropriate legal costs. In the case of multiple owners this affects all owners.
Please note, even if you pay between the legal instruction date and the time it takes for the bailiff to serve the GPC document to you, you will incur legal fees and a default in credit rating.
Paying by the due dates will ensure interest is not charged on overdue amounts.
As an incentive for making prompt payment, participating ratepayers have the opportunity to win one of a number of exciting prizes. Please refer to the brochure accompanying the rate notices to see what the prizes are this year.
Ratepayers must pay their rates in full (inclusive of any arrears) or pay the first instalment amount by the first due date to be eligible to go into the draw.
Yes, instalment options and any additional charges are detailed on the front of your Rates Notice.
Instalment options include an administration charge of $5 for instalments two, three and four, and a lost potential interest rate of 3% p.a.
Failure to make the third or fourth payments by the due date will result in the cancellation of any payment arrangement in place and the remaining balance of your Rates Notice will then be due in full.
Any amounts outstanding after the due date may be recovered by legal action. Any legal action undertaken by Council may result in additional expenses being incurred by the ratepayer.
Eligible pensioners are exempt from additional charges on their rebate portion only. The rebate is funded by the Government of Western Australia.
If the exact amount of the rates first instalment was not paid in full (in one transaction) by the due date, the owner will not have automatically been placed on the instalment option.
Please contact the Revenue Team on (08) 9780 5234 or [email protected]
Yes - please complete our Special arrangement form or contact Rating Services on 97805234 to request an arrangement.
Payments can be made on a weekly, fortnightly basis.
Please note that all payment arrangements are subject to interest and administration fees.
If you are experiencing financial hardship, please call the Shire on 9780 5237 or [email protected] to discuss your eligibility for the City’s Financial Hardship Policy.
If you are a pensioner or senior, you can apply to receive a State Government Rebate on charges for local government rates and Emergency Services Levies (ESL).
To find out more go to Rates Rebates and Concessions.
Some ratepayers may be issued an additional rate notice during the year. This is referred to as an Interim Rate Notice, An Interim Rate Notice is a result of changes that have happened to the property which require a rating adjustment to be calculated after you have been issued with the original rate notice.
These notices are required to be issued by the Shire for various reasons such as:
- If Landgate considers that the Gross Rental Value (GRV) of a ratepayers' property has changed
- Subdivision / Strata of land or amalgamation of land
- Improvements or additions to the property including building a new house and, alterations and additions to an existing home including sheds
- Demolition of any improvements
- Addition or removal of rubbish or recycling collection services.
An Interim Rate Notice will be accompanied by a letter of explanation including the details of the reason for the amendment and effective date of the valuation.
Under the Local Government Act, all owners are jointly and severally responsible for the payment of the rates and service charges. If each owner requires their own copy of the rate notice, please contact the Shire's Revenue Team.
It is the responsibility of the owner to advise the Shire when a change of address takes place that would prevent the effective service of the Rates Notice.
Please notify Council of your change of residential and/or mailing address by completing the Change of Details page.