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Rates FAQs

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Why do I pay rates?

Thank you for protecting the NSW landscape and agricultural industry through your rates.

Your rates fund our biosecurity, animal health and emergency work:

  • coordinating and supporting landholders to control pests and meet your legal obligations
  • our vets’ animal health programs
  • supporting agriculture and animals during emergencies
  • supporting stock identification systems.

The rates you pay mean we can maintain a secure, healthy and productive landscape.

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

This is generally land 10 hectares and above (40 hectares in the Western Region and 20 hectares in some parts of Murray and Riverina Regions). They are separate to council rates.

What can Local Land Services do for me?

We provide a broad range of services to support landholders in running a productive and healthy landscape.

Some of these services are supported by rates, such as the work of our biosecurity officers and district vets.

Others services such as our agricultural extension and natural resource management work are supported by NSW and Australian Government funding.

Some Local Land Services regions are also supported by local programs and partnerships, such as the Hunter Catchment Contribution.

Across the state, landholder rates make up around 22 per cent of our overall funding.

We give technical advice to help you manage your land

We live and work in regional NSW to provide independent and accessible advice to landholders.

Our specialist staff provide landholders technical support and advice on:

  • how to control declared pest animals and insects, including free/subsidised training and access to baits, traps and chemicals
  • herd health issues
  • agricultural productivity
  • managing native vegetation on your property
  • being prepared for, responding to and recovering from natural disasters
  • vegetation and restoration in bushland and wildlife habitats
  • latest funding opportunities, news and events.

We regularly run free or low-cost workshops, training courses and field days to share leading practice in pest control, agricultural productivity, animal health and natural resource management.

Maintaining market confidence in our agricultural produce

The work of our staff in monitoring and traceability mean that consumers remain confident in Australia’s ‘clean and green’ food reputation.

Export markets remain open and commodity prices can remain strong.

Examples include our work in livestock traceability, our district veterinary officer network and surveillance, such as the recent lupin anthracnose disease program.

We support regional pest animal management

Our role in pest animal coordination means you have networks, information and advice you need.

You can deliver on your legal responsibility to control declared pests on your land.

Are you a member of your community pest control group? Speak to your local Biosecurity Officer to find out more.

We support you and your animals during emergencies

As we have seen over 2017, fire and flood impact our communities regularly.

We are a support agency for agriculture and animals (including companion) under the NSW emergency management framework.

Whether it is the Sir Ivan’s bushfires or the Coffs Harbour floods, our staff are trained and in place to help you and your animals prepare, respond and recover.

Likewise, when pest and disease outbreaks happen, we are on the ground to respond.

We help you improve your land and environment

Everyone wants to pass the land to the next generation in a better condition.

Our natural resource management programs support you to manage your land sustainably and improve our environment.

We invest in this work and regional NSW through the support of Catchment Action NSW, the National Landcare Program and other partners.

Touch base with your local Land Services Officer to see what field days and incentive programs are coming up.

Find out more

At the end of the day, we provide a broad range of services to support landholders to build a healthy, productive and resilient landscape.

We support you to manage your land, run a healthy enterprise and meet your legal obligations.

Visit your local office or regional website to find out more and sign up to your local newsletter.

Have rates increased this year?

Yes. Rates have increased in 2018.

We have increased landholder rates to cover funding shortfalls for our biosecurity, animal health and emergency work.

These increases mean that we can continue to meet community expectations for our services.

Changes to the base general rate

The base general rate has been increased to $95, making this consistent across NSW.

Changes to the variable general and animal health rates

The variable components of the general and animal health rates have both increased by three per cent.

These are a cents-per-unit variable charges, based on the notional carrying capacity of your land.

What else has changed?

The Local Land Services Amendment Bill changed the pest insect rate to the special purpose pest management rate.

This means that from 2018 a proportion of these funds will now go back into local on-ground pest animal control.

How can I get more value from Local Land Services?

We offer a range of services and programs to help you improve your productivity and landscape health.

We regularly run workshops and training to share best practice and connect you with regional networks.

Our staff are technical experts who can offer independent advice on pest control, biosecurity, animal health, agricultural productivity and natural resource management.

Visit your regional website or contact your local office to find out what events and programs are available.

The meat industry levy, animal health rate and pest rate—what are they?

The meat industry levy is a statutory levy collected on behalf of the NSW Food Authority.

These funds make sure meat is delivered safely from farm to consumer. Find out more on the NSW Food Authority website.

The animal health rate is based on your notional carrying capacity, which is explained on your rates notice.

The special purpose pest management rate is collected to meet costs of pest insect control campaigns and some local pest animal control work.

What are stock ID fees

This fee supports stock identification systems and administration costs and is $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 2018.

What happens if I don’t pay rates?

Thank you for supporting our work to protect NSW agriculture from disease outbreaks, biosecurity threats and emergencies.

Without these programs, our landscape health, primary industries and market access are at risk.

If you are overdue in paying your rates, you will be charged interest. If you fail to pay your rates, we may take legal action to recover unpaid rates and charges.

If you expect to have trouble paying your rates on time, contact your nearest Local Land Services office.

What do rates pay for?

Rates support the biosecurity and animal health services we provide in your region. These include:

  • coordinating programs to help landholders meet their legal obligation to control declared pests
  • supplying baits, traps and chemicals, advice on control methods and help in forming pest control groups
  • surveillance programs for pest and disease incursions
  • our animal health services, which include animal health and drought feeding advice, diagnosis of flock and herd issues and response to emergency disease outbreaks
  • administration of stock identification systems, including property identification codes, brands, earmarks and compliance with the National Livestock Identification System
  • supporting animals and agriculture during emergencies such as bushfires, floods and biosecurity threats.

Our biosecurity services are insurance against risks to your enterprise and help maintain vital domestic and international market access.

Examples of biosecurity projects include our response to outbreaks of fire ants, avian influenza and lupin anthracnose disease.

Our pest and weed support programs help minimise their impact on our landscape and 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 quarter of our funding across the state.

We are also funded through the NSW Government 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 Program, 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 community groups, such as Landcare.

We also invest other Government funding programs into regional NSW such as the Drought Recovery Program.

We are also supported by specific programs regionally, such as the Hunter Catchment Contribution in the Hunter region.

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 land that is rateable under the Local Land Services Act 2013 are required to pay general rates.

These funds mean we can support all landholders to meet their legal obligations and maintain the health and productivity of the landscape.

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 50 or more 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 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.

This information is essential in responding to emergencies such as disease outbreaks, fires and floods.

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 support our biosecurity and animal health 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 can I pay my rates?

There are a number of ways you can pay your rates.

  1. Online - Make a payment at on this website
  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 selected 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. As per the Local Land Services Act 2013, we charge interest at a rate that is reviewed annually. Charging interest on overdue accounts is 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

To find out more contact your regional Local Land Services Office.