Posted on August 21, 2013 by Lindsay Taylor

New Regulation Enables Councils to Write-Off Stormwater Management Services Charges

A recent amendment to the Local Government (General) Regulation 2005 (‘General Regulation‘) gives councils the power to write-off stormwater management services charges or accrued interest in certain  circumstances. 

The amendments to the General Regulation were made by the Local Government (General) Amendment (Council Sewerage Systems) Regulation 2013 and commenced on 9 August 2013.

Chapter 15 of the Local Government Act 1993 (‘LG Act‘) contains various provisions enabling a council to write-off rates and charges and accrued interest, and provide concessions, discounts and rebates on rates and charges in certain circumstances.

Section 607 of the LG Act enables regulations to be made specifying circumstances, in addition to those for which provision is made in Chapter 15, in which a council may write-off rates and charges and accrued interest.

Existing clause 131 of the General Regulation sets out the circumstances in which and the procedure by which rates and charges, generally, may be written off.

The new provision relating to stormwater management services charges is contained in new clause 130 of the General Regulation, which is made pursuant to s607 of the LG Act.

Sections 496A and 510A of the LG Act authorise the making and levying of such charges as annual charges and set the maximum amount of the charge.

New clause 130 enables a council to write-off the whole or part of any stormwater management services charge or the interest accrued on any such charge in either of two circumstances, namely:

(a) if, in the opinion of the council, the relevant ratepayer has demonstrated that they have  practiced good stormwater management, or

(b) the person is an eligible pensioner.

Clause 130 had previously enabled a council to write-off rates and charges in certain circumstances relating to land categorised as ‘farmland’ or rating purposes. This provision was repealed.