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Media Release: 3 September 2019
Gladstone Regional Council, like all Local Governments in Queensland, gains the bulk of its operating budget revenue through general rates and service charges.
Paying by instalments
Frequency of rate notices
Receiving your rate notices
Past rate notices
State Emergency Management Levy
How rates are calculated
Frequently asked questions
Forms and other information
General rates are essentially a tax on properties to cover the costs of providing services and infrastructure to a community. How Council's total rates revenue is divided across a community is guided by the distribution of that community's land valuations. Service charges are applied to properties that receive a specific service.
Council offers two discount options for full payments of general rates and service charges received either early or by the due date. If you pay within 30 days of the issue date you will receive a 10 per cent discount on your rate notice. If you miss this timeframe but pay by the 60 days due date you will receive a five per cent discount. It is important to note that discounts do not apply to the State Governments Emergency Management Levy or water consumption.
You must ensure your payment is received by the deadline to ensure the discount is applied.
Gladstone Regional Council voted to extend the discount period for the 2019 rates notice at the general meeting 3 September 2019. The amendment will see the 10 per cent discount period extended to 18 November 2019 and the five per cent discount period extended to 18 December 2019.
The following payment methods can be used to pay your rates notice.
All payments must be received by Council prior to the discount expiry date for a discount to apply.
Please factor in delays in payment deliveries, for example via mail or your banking institution, when timing your payments.
- Council's Online Services portal - Online Services offers the ability to make a payment or register to also view your history of rate notices and payments.
- BPAY - Use the biller code and reference number on the front of your rate notice when accessing your bank's online banking service.
Ratepayers are advised to make BPAY payments at least two days prior to the discount deadline to ensure Council receives the payment in time. Please also consider potential postal delays if paying by mail.
- BPAY - Call your bank to pay by BPAY using the biller code and reference number on the front of your rate notice.
- Cheques and money orders made payable to Gladstone Regional Council and accompanied by the bottom portion of your rate notice. Post-dated cheques will not be accepted. If paying the nett amount to take advantage of the discount, payment must be received by the due date. Council is not responsible for postal delivery times.
- Council Offices - Payment can be made at any Council Office or Rural Transaction Centre. Cash, cheque, money orders, eftpos and credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, Bankcard and American Express) are all accepted.
- Australia Post - Payments can be made at any Australia Post office with a copy of your rate notice. Cash, cheque or eftpos payments are accepted. Credit card payments are not accepted by Australia Post.
- You may wish to authorise Council to withdraw a regular amount from your bank account on the 21st of each month. This can be to meet approved instalment arrangements, or just to make payments in advance for your next notice.
- The lump sum direct debit option authorises Council to withdraw the required amount to pay your rate and/or water notices on the day prior to the due date.
Wage or Centrelink deductions
- Centrepay - Ratepayers who receive payments from Centrelink can arrange for regular, automatic rate deductions from their fortnightly Centrelink payment.Payments can be set up from your MyGov account or by contacting Centrelink.
The Centrepay reference number is 555076313K. Please use your assessment number from your rate notice as Council's reference number.
- Wage deductions - Gladstone Ports Corporation and Queensland Health have arrangements with Council to make optional, regular rates deductions from employees' wages. Employees should contact their employer directly to arrange.
- Overseas residents are required to forward remittances by bank draft in Australian currency to avoid short payments as a result of currency fluctuations.
Property owners who experience difficulty meeting their rate payments should contact Council immediately to ensure a payment agreement can be negotiated before the due date.
To take advantage of Council's instalment payment scheme, ratepayers can fill out the form on the back of their rates notice and return it to their local Council office in person, by email to email@example.com or by mail to PO Box 29, Gladstone Qld 4680.
Alternatively complete the rate instalment application form and return to Council via one of the above methods.
Council accepts payment in advance of your rate notice. You can pay as much and as frequently as you choose to get your assessment in credit prior to the issue of notices.
Pre-payments can be made via Council's Online Services (either as a registered user or by quoting the reference number on your most recent rate notice). You can also use the BPAY details from your last notice to set up regular internet banking transfer or by visiting a Council Office or Rural Transaction Centre or by phoning us on (07) 4970 0700.
Amounts paid in advance show as prepayments on your next rate notice.
Overdue rates accrue interest at a rate of 9.83 per cent per annum calculated from the due date. Refer to Council's Rating Financial Hardship Policy.
Queensland’s Local Government Regulation 2012 gives Council permission to sell the land if rates remain unpaid for 3 or more years for land with a dwelling or after 12 months for vacant land or commercial properties. It is Council’s policy to conduct sale of land auctions on an annual basis in order to recover outstanding rates.
As of the 2019/20 financial year, Council made the decision to revert to annual rates notice.
Water consumption notices will still be issued half yearly with the rate notice (August) and in February.
Rate and water notices are issued via Australia Post as mailed letters.
Registered online users will be advised by email when electronic copies of their notices are available online, shortly after they are issued by post. To view your notice online, register as a user on Council's Online Services. Registration can take a couple of days while entered details are matched against our rates database. Once registered you can sign in to view your rate notice and your history of payments and property valuations.
If you have recently moved, don't forget to update your postal details with Council so your notices go to the right place.
Community members are invited to view information about how rates are calculated.
Rate and water notices are available online soon after their postal issue.
Rates and water notices are available online for all financial years from 2009/2010 or from when you purchased a property after that year.
Rates and water notices prior to that year can be obtained, if necessary, by contacting Council on (07) 4970 0700 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Council and the State Government recognise the special needs of pensioners and offer a Pension Remission of rates to financially assist eligible pensioners. The remission encourages pensioners to be independent and live in their own home where possible, which Council believes provides a ‘quality of life’ benefit.
The State Government Subsidy grants a remission of 20 per cent of all rates and charges (to a maximum of $200) and 20 per cent on the State Emergency Management Levy, per year for the pensioner’s principle place of residence.
To be eligible you must be a holder of a current:
- Centrelink Queensland Pensioner Concession Card
- Veteran Affairs Gold Card, or
- Veteran Affairs Pensioner Concession Card.
Council also provides a further subsidy of 50 per cent of the General Rate to a maximum of $295 per year to pensioners who:
- Meet the above State Government Guidelines
- Reside in an approved residence which complies with Standard Building Law.
To apply, complete a Pensioner Remission Application Form and return together with copies of the front and back of your pension card by email, post or in person at any Council office. For assistance please contact us on (07) 4970 0700.
The State Government does not currently provide rebates for Seniors Cards, Health Care Cards, Health Benefit Cards and Repatriation Health cards for special conditions.
Council levies and collects the State Emergency Management Levy on behalf of the State Government for the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services.
In previous years, this levy has been known as the Annual State EMFR Levy, State Government Fire Levy or Urban Fire Levy.
The Urban Fire Levy Scheme was introduced in 1984 to partially fund the Queensland Fire Service. Since then the Fire Service and the Levy have both evolved.
Today we have the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES), one organisation with many services, working with our partners in the community to plan for and mitigate the full range of natural and other hazards we face. QFES delivers its emergency management services through the Fire and Rescue Service, Rural Fire Service Queensland and the State Emergency Service and the Emergency Management Levy remains its primary source of funding.
The Levy is established in the Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990 (the Act) which applies a levy on properties within levy districts. The Act places a legal obligation on local governments to administer the levy, which is collected through local government rate notices.
The Levy is applied to all Queensland property to ensure there is a sustainable funding base for our fire and emergency services and recognises that all Queenslanders are at risk from a wide range of emergencies including floods, cyclones, storms as well as fire and accidents.
To discuss how Council has determined the State Emergency Management Levy classification on your assessment please contact the Revenue Services team on (07) 4970 0700.
For further information regarding this levy please visit the QFES website or call 13 74 68. A discount does not apply to the State Emergency Management Levy.
Despite popular belief, local government rates are not determined by a simple 'my property value' x 'general rate' = 'my bill' equation.
To make rates as fair as possible, all local governments apply more considered equations to their rate notices, in accordance with the Local Government Regulation.
The first step is to determine how much rates revenue must be generated in order to deliver the wants and needs of the community.
A reduction or increase in a community's property values does not necessarily result in an equal reduction or increase in the costs of providing services to that community.
The State Government’s Department of Natural Resources and Mines and Energy (DNRME) Valuer-General is responsible for valuing all properties in the region. Any valuation enquiries should be directed to DNRME on 13 74 68.
The required rates revenue is therefore spread across a community according to the distribution of its properties' values.
This distribution of property values across a community typically fluctuates from year to year. Some years a drop or rise in value can be evenly spread across all properties. Other years a pocket of properties will experience a dip or rise in value that is steeper than other properties in the region.
The relatively fixed cost of providing adequate services, combined with uneven levels of property value changes, explains why a drop or rise in a property's value doesn't necessarily result in an associated drop or rise in its rates.
Therefore, an individual property's rates bill is governed by its value compared to other properties in the region and the fixed costs of its Council.
A rate cap is also applied to reduce the impact of large valuation increases on residential, rural, small businesses and light industrial properties.
This financial year, general rates have increased, on average, by 1.94 per cent. But, as explained above, rates for individual properties will vary – some will receive a decrease, others will experience no change, and some will experience an increase of up to our cap of 10 per cent, for residential properties and 15 per cent for business/commercial properties.
An owner may object to the land categorisation by lodging a notice of objection in writing and signed by the landowner within 30 days of the rate notice date of issue. The sole grounds on which the owner may object is that, having regard to the criteria by which rateable land is categorised by Gladstone Regional Council, the land should have been included in another category. The objection must clearly state the facts and circumstances on which the objection is made.
Please note that giving a notice of objection will not, in the meantime, affect the levy and recovery of rates. If your objection is upheld, a rate adjustment will be made at that time.
I live in a unit and my property value is incorrect/Why is the value of my property so much when I live in a unit?
The rates notice displays the total complex site value at the top of the notice. At the bottom of the notice is the individual unit valuation (apportionment/entitlement/share). This is what is used to calculate the rates levied.
What is the Water Availability and Water Consumption charge?
Water charges are determined on a user pays basis and collected to fully recover the cost of provision of infrastructure and the cost of operating and maintaining the water supply system.
The water charges on rate notices are charged on a two-part tariff (fixed cost and consumption) system comprising of:
Water Availability Charge: for all properties (vacant or developed) within the serviceable area a fixed cost component is levied.
Water Consumption Charge: a charge for every kilolitre (1,000 litres) you use. Your average daily consumption in litres is shown on the graph on your six-monthly water notice.
I recently purchased the property, why am I getting billed for water consumption from previous months?
It is suggested that discussion is had with your solicitor or conveyancer who dealt with the property purchase. Council is unaware of property sale contractual agreements.
Council will issue rate notices to property owner at the time of levy.
Do I have a water meter on my property?
You will need to contact Council to confirm if you have water access charges, water available for connection and any water consumption charges if you did not receive a notice or you believe it to be incorrect.
- Pets and Animals
- Community Development
- Community Investment