Rates Overview

Council Rates are based on simple principles, have low administrative costs and are the subject of virtually no evasion or avoidance, so people who do the right thing are not subsidising tax avoiders - however understanding how the general system and various options available to Councils impact on individual ratepayers can be complex. Council must operate within the legal framework provided by an act of the SA Parliament: The Local Government Act 1999.

Rates are the single biggest source of revenue for council. Each financial year council must adopt a budget and then set the rates according to the revenue needed. Each year council must also prepare a rating policy (refer following pages). It is important to understand that a common myth about Council rates - that Council get "windfall" gains from growth in property valuations - is exactly that, a myth. Because all councils must reset tax rates (rates in the dollar) each year to align with their budget requirements. The Local Government Association of South Australia website has more information - Resourcing Council Services - Council Rates.

The following information seeks to outline the complexities involved in the Local Government Rating System and to promote a better understanding of that system. It is important that ratepayers read the information on their rates notice, talk to the Council rating staff directly and be aware that if rates are not paid by the due date then late payment fees will be applied.

The Port Augusta City Council rates are determined on the following basis:

  • A differential general rate applied to all properties based on use of land within defined planning zones; and,
  • A minimum rate applying to all land uses within the planning zones.
  • Service Charges for the specific services of septic tank effluent disposal (CWMS) and Kerbside Waste Collection/Recycling Service applied to land where the respective services are provided.

Ratepayers may object to the land use category attributed to their land if they believe that it is incorrect and may lodge a written objection to Council outlining the grounds to which the objection is based.

Objections must be submitted to the Valuer-General or Council within 60 days of receiving the first rate notice for the financial year.

Site values of land only are used as the basis for determining what share of the total rate revenue individual ratepayers are to pay. The Council use valuations provided by the Valuer-General and ratepayers may object to these valuations if they consider them to be inaccurate. For more information on how to lodge an objection, refer to the Department of Transport, Energy and Infrastructure website.

Councils can provide rate relief to certain ratepayers in specific circumstances such as financial hardship and enquiries of this type need to be made to Rating Services staff, and are confidential.

Councils rating policy contains information about remission and/or rebate and postponement of rates. (1.1.10) Rating Policy 2017/2018(221 kb)