Kempsey Shire Council secures Environmental Levy as part of Council rates

Kempsey Council have been advised that the application to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) to continue charging an Environmental Levy as part of the Council rates was successful.

The Environmental Levy has been in place for 15 years and was due to expire at the end of June 2018. Council’s successful application will now see the Levy in place for another 10 years.

Council’s Director Corporate and Commercial, Stephen Mitchell explains that retaining the Environmental Levy for another decade will allow significant projects to be funded.

“Our environmental restoration work, particularly in the creeks and waterways, flood levee upgrades, beach access improvements as well as weed control programs and restoration of bushland can now all be continued with this funding secured,” Mr Mitchell said.

“In their assessment IPART identified that Council had used a range of engagement methods to make the community aware of the need to extend the levy and that the community survey showed 75% of respondents supported Council applying for the continuation.”

As the Environmental Levy is not new and has already been charged in last year’s rate, in effect the 2018-2019 rates for Kempsey Council will only increase by the state-wide 2.3% rate peg, which equates to about $18 dollars per household.

“The IPART assessment also considered the communities capacity to pay the Levy and found that our average residential rate is 7.4% lower than other similar size and structured Councils in NSW and was lower than our immediate neighbouring Councils,” Mr Mitchell said.

Thirteen Councils around NSW applied for variations to their rates with nine approved in full, including five Councils along the North Coast.

The approval comes with conditions that the funds must be used for the purposes set out in the application and that Council must report to the community through the Annual Report about how the additional funds were spent.