Listening to community on council rates and charges

Dept of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications

In response to community feedback and the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, the Australian Government and the Norfolk Island Regional Council (NIRC) have agreed the proposed increases in land rates and waste management will now be staggered over multiple financial years.

The proposed increases in rates and waste management charges were outlined in the NIRC Draft Operational Plan 2022-23, which was released for public comment on 24 May 2022, and is proposed for consideration at the Council meeting on 6 July 2022.

Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Territories Kristy McBain said she had heard the community’s concerns loud and clear and empathised with the challenges people were facing in adjusting to the changes.

“The past few years have been incredibly difficult for so many people and I understand the impacts COVID-19 has had on individuals and businesses,” Minister McBain said.

“I have been discussing your concerns with Council. The Administrator and I have agreed the community needs additional time to plan and budget for these increases.

“The proposed increases in rates and waste management charges will now be phased in and the Commonwealth will provide $1 million of additional funding in the 2022-23 financial year to support this staged introduction.

Under the revised plan, the revenue raised through rates in 2022-23 will be limited to a 25% increase on the total rate calculation. The introduction of rating sub-categories means that rates will now be distributed in a more equitable and sustainable way.

NIRC Administrator Mike Colreavy said rates and charges needed to increase in the financial years ahead, so the community could continue to receive essential services and improvements to available services.

“Rates and charges on Norfolk Island are increasing from a very low base. The increases are critical for the ongoing financial sustainability of the Council, to support improvements in service provision and better maintenance of critical infrastructure for the community,” Mr Colreavy said.

“But we appreciate people need more time for this to occur. The additional Government funding will allow a staged introduction over the years ahead, so you can prepare for the changes.

“It is important to note that most residential properties will still see a decrease in rates and waste management charges. Businesses will be able to plan for increases to be passed on to visitors as needed.”

Minister McBain said she was working on progressing other initiatives which would support sustainable waste management on Norfolk Island and assist delivery of waste and recycling services.

“I am planning on visiting Norfolk Island in coming weeks and will have more to share on this soon,” Minister McBain said.

The NIRC will release more detailed information on the revised operational plan and the schedules of rates and charges for properties.

The Australian Government and the NIRC remain committed to working together for the long-term, sustainable governance of the Norfolk Island community.

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