Environmental levy to continue in Kempsey Shire

KEMPSEY council has been advised that its application to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) to continue charging an environmental levy as part of its rates, has been successful.

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

Council’s director Corporate and Commercial, Stephen Mitchell, said 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 per cent 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 increase only by the state-wide 2.3 per cent rate peg, which equates to about $18 per household.

“The IPART assessment also considered the community’s capacity to pay the levy and found that our average residential rate is 7.4 per cent 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.