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Rates FAQs

Who is charged rates by Local Land Services?

Under the Local Land Services Act 2013, Local Land Services must charge rates on all parcels of land that are classified as rateable land under the Act.

Each region has a minimum rating area for properties. The rateable area is generally 10 ha in coastal and tablelands areas and is larger (40 ha in the Western Region and 20 ha in some parts of Murray and Riverina Regions) in more western regions.

What do rates pay for?

Rates help pay for the biosecurity and animal health services your region provides to the rural community, such as:

  • the coordination of programs to control declared pest animals and insects, including access to baits, traps and chemicals, advice on control methods and assistance in forming groups to tackle pests
  • the provision of animal health services, including animal health and drought feeding advice, diagnosis of flock and herd issues and response to emergency disease outbreaks
  • the administration of stock identification systems, including property identification codes, brands, earmarks and compliance with the National Livestock Identification System
  • the local administration of drought and other natural disaster relief
  • the delivery of agricultural emergency management assistance for drought and other natural disaster relief (bushfires, floods).

Biosecurity services provide insurance against risks and help maintain vital domestic and international market access for producers.

Examples of biosecurity projects include outbreaks of fire ants and avian influenza, as well as statewide wild dog management programs. Pest and weed support programs help minimise the impact on agricultural productivity.

Are rates the only source of income for Local Land Services?

Rates are not the only source of income for Local Land Services – they make up less than one third of our funding.

As well as rates, the NSW Government contributes funding through Catchment Action NSW, which provides on-ground programs to support biodiversity, native vegetation, threatened species and Aboriginal cultural heritage initiatives.

The Australian Government also contributes funding through the National Landcare Programme, which helps drive sustainable agriculture, as well as supporting the protection, conservation and rehabilitation of Australia’s natural environment.

This funding also supports the activities of volunteer conservation groups, such as Landcare.

How are rates calculated?

Rates are charged on a two-tier basis, involving a general rate paid by all landholders and a supplementary animal health rate that only some landholders are charged.

The base amount is similar to a flag fall in a taxi. The base charge is applied to each of the four rate types levied on a property.

What is the general rate?

The general rate is payable on all rateable land. It has a base amount and a cents-per-unit charge, based on the notional carrying capacity of the land.

If I don’t have any livestock do I still have to pay general rates?

All landholders on parcels of land deemed to be rateable under the Local Land Services Act 2013 are required to pay general rates as they all receive the benefit of the services and support Local Land Services provides.

What is notional carrying capacity?

The notional carrying capacity of your property is calculated by Local Land Services in your local region. It is based on the number of stock your property would normally carry in an average year if the property was used solely for livestock purposes. This figure is based on stock units per hectare.

Under the Local Land Services Act 2013, a 40 kg sheep of any breed represents one stock unit and a 400 kg steer of any breed represents 10 stock units.

Who calculates the notional carrying capacity?

Assessment of notional carrying capacity is undertaken by Local Land Services in your local region.

What if I disagree with the notional carrying capacity or some other calculation on my rates notice?

If you do not agree with any of the calculations on your rates notice, you can lodge an appeal with your nearest Local Land Services office, within 28 days of receiving a rates notice.

If you still disagree after the appeal has been dealt with by Local Land Services, you can lodge a further appeal with the NSW Civil and Administration Tribunal. You can contact them online or by phoning 1300 006 228.

What is the animal health rate?

The animal health rate has a base charge and a cents per stock unit charge, based on the notional carrying capacity of the land.

Does everyone have to pay animal health rates?

The animal health rate is payable if you indicated on your annual land and stock return that you had at least 50 stock units on your property in the previous year. This charge also applies if you did not lodge a land and stock return by 31 August last year.

What if I didn’t lodge a land and stock return or lodged my return late?

The animal health rate is also payable if you did not lodge your land and stock return by the due date. This approach has been designed to encourage people to lodge their returns.

What are the other levy charges on my rates notice?

Your rates notice also contains a pest insect special purpose levy and a meat industry levy. These levies are collected by Local Land Services on behalf of other agencies.

What is the pest insect special purpose levy?

This levy is charged on all rateable land for the control of declared pest insects, such as locusts. Local Land Services collects this levy on behalf of NSW Department of Primary Industries and does not keep the funds.

What is the meat industry levy?

The meat industry levy is collected on behalf of NSW Food Authority. It is payable by land owners who are charged the animal health rate. Local Land Services does not retain these funds.

Have rates increased this year?

Yes, there are increases to rates this year. There have been some increases in base and variable rates charges as part of a continuing move towards a more consistent and standardised rating structure.

The 2017 increases also ensure that Local Land Services can continue to meet community expectations for managing pest animals and providing biosecurity, animal health and welfare and emergency management support.

Base general rate

Where the 2016 base general rate was below $60, the 2017 base general rate has been increased to $60.

Where the 2016 base general rate was greater than $60, the 2017 base general rate will increase in line with CPI, consistent with previous rating periods.

Base animal health rate

The base component of the animal health rate has increased from $30 to $35 across NSW.

Variable general and animal health rates

The variable component of the general and animal health rates will be increased by five per cent.

Stock ID fees

This fee supports stock identification systems and administration costs and has been standardised at $70 across all regions.

The stock ID fee is levied on holdings less than 10 ha where a landholder has a brand or earmark or former landholders who wish to retain their brand or earmark.

Special rate for specific purposes

Sometimes Local Land Services regions may charge a special purpose rate for specified purposes, such as noxious weed management on travelling stock reserves or to contribute to a specific pest insect destruction program. There are no special rates levied for 2017.

Why am I charged rates if my property is zoned residential?

Local government land zonings are not relevant to Local Land Services regions. Even though you may pay council rates, if your holding is greater than the minimum area set out by the Act, Local Land Services rates also apply.

If I pay rates, do I get baits and other things for free?

Rates provide for biosecurity and animal health services provided by Local Land Services.

Most merchandise (including baits and stock signs) attracts an additional charge.

I have a Voluntary Conservation Agreement (VCA) on my property so why do I have to pay rates?

Rates are used to fund essential pest control and livestock health surveillance on all rateable land, including areas that are under VCA. Some land is exempt from rates, including land used for a caravan park, cemetery, golf course and local council land (not used as an agricultural enterprise).

How do I pay?

2017 rates are due by 18 May 2017. There are a number of ways you can pay your rates.

  1. Online - Make a payment at www.lls.nsw.gov.au
  2. BPAY – telephone and internet banking
  3. By phone - call 1300 738 070 and pay by MasterCard or Visa
  4. By mail – post your cheque or money order to the address on the remittance advice section  of the rate notice
  5. In person – at some Local Land Services offices.

NOTE: Payments through Australia Post are NOT available.

Does it cost more to pay by credit card?

A 0.4 % surcharge applies to rates paid by Mastercard or Visa to cover merchant fees. There is no surcharge for payments by cash, cheque or BPAY.

What if I can’t pay by the due date?

We understand that, from time to time, some people experience difficulty paying your rates by the due date. If that is you, talk to the staff at your nearest Local Land Services office.

Will interest charges apply to overdue rates?

Yes. Interest will be charged on overdue amounts (as at 31 May) at the rate of 11.31%.

As part of the transition to Local Land Services, we have not charged interest on overdue accounts since December 2013, even though it has been clearly stated on statements and invoices.

Provisions under the Local Land Services Act 2013 allow us to charge interest at a rate that is reviewed annually. Charging interest on overdue accounts is also considered standard business practice.

Interest charged is clearly shown in the body of the account statement. The minimum threshold is $2.00, so if the interest calculated is less than $2.00, it will not be charged to your account.

Interest will only be charged on amounts that are overdue at the end of the month when the interest calculation is run, so if an account was overdue last month but it is paid before the end of this month, no interest will be charged.

What happens if I buy or sell a property with outstanding rates?

You need to ask this question of the person doing your property conveyancing. The debt will remain on the property until the rates are paid. Any unpaid rates should be deducted from settlement during the sale process and paid to Local Land Services. Where this is not done, unpaid rates remain against the land and become the responsibility of the new owner.

More information

Staff in any local office of Local Land Services in your region

Call: 1300 795 299

Send an email