Part 3 Ordinary rates
514 Categorisation of land for purposes of ordinary rates
Before making an ordinary rate, the council must have declared each parcel of rateable land in its area to be within one or other of the following categories:
Note. Land falls within the “business” category if it cannot be categorised as farmland, residential or mining. The main land uses that will fall within the “business” category are commercial and industrial.
515 Categorisation as farmland
(1) Land is to be categorised as farmland if it is a parcel of rateable land valued as one assessment and its dominant use is for farming (that is, the business or industry of grazing, animal feedlots, dairying, pig-farming, poultry farming, viticulture, orcharding, bee-keeping, horticulture, vegetable growing, the growing of crops of any kind, forestry or aquaculture within the meaning of the Fisheries Management Act 1994, or any combination of those businesses or industries) which:
(a) has a significant and substantial commercial purpose or character, and
(b) is engaged in for the purpose of profit on a continuous or repetitive basis (whether or not a profit is actually made).
(2) Land is not to be categorised as farmland if it is rural residential land.
(3) The regulations may prescribe circumstances in which land is or is not to be categorised as farmland.
516 Categorisation as residential
(1) Land is to be categorised as residential if it is a parcel of rateable land valued as one assessment and:
(a) its dominant use is for residential accommodation (otherwise than as a hotel, motel, guest-house, backpacker hostel or nursing home or any other form of residential accommodation (not being a boarding house or a lodging house) prescribed by the regulations), or
(b) in the case of vacant land, it is zoned or otherwise designated for use under an environmental planning instrument (with or without development consent) for residential purposes, or
(c) it is rural residential land.
(1A) For the purposes of this section, a boarding house or a lodging house means a building wholly or partly let as lodging in which each letting provides the tariff-paying occupant with a principal place of residence and in which:
(a) each tariff charged does not exceed the maximum tariff for boarding houses or lodging houses for the time being determined by the Minister by order published in the Gazette for the purposes of this subsection, and
(b) there are at least 3 tariff-paying occupants who have resided there for the last 3 consecutive months, or any period totalling 3 months during the last year,
and includes a vacant building that was so let immediately before becoming vacant, but does not include a residential flat building, licensed premises, a private hotel, a building containing serviced apartments or a backpacker hostel or other tourist establishment.
(2) The regulations may prescribe circumstances in which land is or is not to be categorised as residential.
517 Categorisation as mining
(1) Land is to be categorised as mining if it is a parcel of rateable land valued as one assessment and its dominant use is for a coal mine or metalliferous mine.
(2) The regulations may prescribe circumstances in which land is or is not to be categorised as mining.
518 Categorisation as business
Land is to be categorised as business if it cannot be categorised as farmland, residential or mining.
518A Strata lots and company titles taken to be separate parcels of land for categorisation
For the purposes of this Part:
(a) each lot in a strata plan that is registered under the Strata Schemes (Freehold Development) Act 1973 or the Strata Schemes (Leasehold Development) Act 1986, and
(b) each dwelling or portion of the kind referred to in section 547 (1),
is taken to be a separate parcel for the purposes of categorisation.
518B Mixed development land
In this section, mixed development land and non-residential land have the same meanings as in section 14BB of the Valuation of Land Act 1916.
(2) Categorisation of parts of mixed development land
If a valuation is furnished under the Valuation of Land Act 1916 for mixed development land:
(a) the part of the land that is non-residential land is taken to have been categorised as business, and
(b) the part of the land that is not non-residential land is taken to have been categorised as residential,
despite sections 515–518.
The council may determine a sub-category for a part of land to which subsection (2) applies according to the category determined by that subsection for the part.
(4) Apportionment of rates and charges
A rate, the base amount of a rate, or the minimum amount of a rate or of a charge, that is made and levied according to categories or sub-categories of land is to apply to a parcel of mixed development land according to the percentages represented by the apportionment factor for the parcel ascertained under section 14X of the Valuation of Land Act 1916.
519 How is vacant land to be categorised?
If vacant land is unable to be categorised under section 515, 516 or 517, the land is to be categorised:
(a) if the land is zoned or otherwise designated for use under an environmental planning instrument—according to any purpose for which the land may be used after taking into account the nature of any improvements on the land and the nature of surrounding development, or
(b) if the land is not so zoned or designated—according to the predominant categorisation of surrounding land.
520 Notice of declaration of category
(1) A council must give notice to each rateable person of the category declared for each parcel of land for which the person is rateable.
(2) The notice must be in the approved form and must:
(a) state that the person has the right to apply to the council for a review of the declaration that the land is within the category stated in the notice, and
(b) state that the person has the right to appeal to the Land and Environment Court if dissatisfied with the council’s review, and
(c) refer to sections 525 and 526.
521 When does the declaration of a category take effect?
A declaration that a parcel of land is within a particular category takes effect from the date specified for the purpose in the declaration.
522 When does the declaration of a category cease?
A declaration that a parcel of land is within a particular category ceases when a subsequent declaration concerning the land takes effect.
523 When are the declarations of categories reviewed?
(1) A council need not annually review a declaration that a parcel of land is within a particular category, but may review a declaration:
(a) as part of a general review of the categorisation of all or a number of parcels of land, or
(b) because it has reason to believe that a parcel of land should be differently categorised.
(2) A council must review a declaration if required to do so in accordance with section 525 by a person who is rateable in respect of a parcel of land to which the declaration applies.
524 Notice of change of category
A rateable person (or the person’s agent) must notify the council within 30 days after the person’s rateable land changes from one category to another.
525 Application for change of category
(1) A rateable person (or the person’s agent) may apply to the council at any time:
(a) for a review of a declaration that the person’s rateable land is within a particular category for the purposes of section 514, or
(b) to have the person’s rateable land declared to be within a particular category for the purposes of that section.
(2) An application must be in the approved form, must include a description of the land concerned and must nominate the category the applicant considers the land should be within.
(3) The council must declare the land to be within the category nominated in the application unless it has reasonable grounds for believing that the land is not within that category.
(4) If the council has reasonable grounds for believing that the land is not within the nominated category, it may notify the applicant of any further information it requires in order to be satisfied that the land is within that category. After considering any such information, the council must declare the category for the land.
(5) The council must notify the applicant of its decision. The council must include the reasons for its decision if it declares that the land is not within the category nominated in the application.
(6) If the council has not notified the applicant of its decision within 40 days after the application is made to it, the council is taken, at the end of the 40-day period, to have declared the land to be within its existing category.
526 Appeal against declaration of category
(1) A rateable person who is dissatisfied with:
(a) the date on which a declaration is specified, under section 521, to take effect, or
(b) a declaration of a council under section 525,
may appeal to the Land and Environment Court.
(2) An appeal must be made within 30 days after the declaration is made.
(3) The Court, on an appeal, may declare the date on which a declaration is to take effect or the category for the land, or both, as the case requires.
527 Adjustment of rates following change in category
A council must make an appropriate adjustment of rates paid or payable by a rateable person following a change in category of land.
528 Rate may be the same or different for different categories
(1) The ad valorem amount (the amount in the dollar) of the ordinary rate may be the same for all categories of land or it may be different for different categories.
(2) The regulations may provide that the ad valorem amount of the ordinary rate for land categorised as mining is to be not more or less than a specified percentage of the ad valorem amount of the ordinary rate for land categorised as business. The regulations may apply to all councils or one or more councils specified in the regulations.
529 Rate may be the same or different within a category
(1) Before making an ordinary rate, a council may determine a sub-category or sub-categories for one or more categories of rateable land in its area.
(2) A sub-category may be determined:
(a) for the category “farmland”—according to the intensity of land use, the irrigability of the land or economic factors affecting the land, or
(b) for the category “residential”—according to whether the land is rural residential land or is within a centre of population, or
(c) for the category “mining”—according to the kind of mining involved, or
(d) for the category “business”—according to a centre of activity.
Note. In relation to the category “business”, a centre of activity might comprise a business centre, an industrial estate or some other concentration of like activities.
(3) The ad valorem amount (the amount in the dollar) of the ordinary rate may be the same for all land within a category or it may be different for different sub-categories.
(4) Land may be taken to be irrigable for the purposes of subsection (2) (a) if, and only if, it is the subject of a water right within the meaning of the Valuation of Land Act 1916.
531 What provisions of this Part apply to the determination of sub-categories?
(1) Sections 519–527 apply to the determination of sub-categories for a category of rateable land in the same way as those sections apply to the declaration of a category.
(2) Notice of determination of a sub-category may be given in the same notice as the notice of declaration of a category.