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Council Rates

Annual Business Plan and Budget Your rates allow us to provide a wide range of services for you, and for the benefit of the wider community.

Annual Business Plan and Budget 2019-2020 (2001 kb)

What your Council Rates do for you

Payment Options

How are rates calculated?


To meet service levels and the infrastructure needs of our community for 2019/20 at a total cost of $145.7m, the City of Charles Sturt needs to levy $109.909m in rates.

This translates to an overall increase in total rates of 2.0% (plus property growth).

For the “typical” residential ratepayer this equates to additional $0.56 cents per week or $28.98 per annum (1.8%)

At Charles Sturt we also have a minimum rate which ensures all ratepayers contribute towards the provision of basic services at a reasonable level. In 2019/20 the minimum will increase from $1,071 to $1,095 for 35% of ratepayers (2.24 % increase or an extra $24 per annum).

Rates are a form of property tax where the amount each ratepayer contributes is based on their relative property valuation, but this valuation has no bearing on the total amount of rates the Council collects. Council only collects the amount of money it requires to provide those services and infrastructure as adopted in its annual budget

As rates levied are a system of taxation (like income tax and GST) the rates paid may not directly related to the services used.

Rates are calculated by multiplying the value of a property (capital value as assessed by the Valuer General), by the 'rate in the dollar.'

The 'rate in the dollar' is calculated by dividing the sum of rates required by the Council’s annual budget by the total valuation of properties in the Council area.

There are a range of different 'rates in the dollar'; each is based on the type of land use (eg residential, vacant land, commercial, industrial, primary production land and other).

In 2019/20 the average increase in rates for land uses such as commercial, primary production etc was the same as residential with Council conscious to ensure an equitable distribution.

Change of details

You must advise us of all changes to the postal address or owner/ratepayer details in writing.

Any changes to your name due to marriage, divorce, death etc must be advised in writing with copies of relevant certificates attached.

Change of Address or Name or Ratepayer

Sale of Property - Transfer Advice


Objections to property valuations

Your property's capital value assessment used to determine the amount of rates you are levied comes from a Government valuation adopted by this Council.

You may object to the valuation referred to in the annual instalment notice in writing to the Valuer-General within 60 days of service of the annual instalment notice, stating the grounds for your objection and including information to support your application. But note:

  1. If you have previously received a notice under the Local Government Act 1999 referring to the valuation and informing you of a 60 day objection period, the objection period is 60 days after service of the first such notice;
  2. You may not object to the valuation if the Valuer-General has already considered an objection by you to that valuation.

Objection forms can be obtained from the Office of the Valuer-General, or can be downloaded from

Objections are to be forwarded to the Office of the Valuer-General:
101 Grenfell Street, Adelaide, GPO Box 1354, Adelaide SA 5001
Phone: 1300 653 346

If your objection is upheld, the Valuer General will advise Council and your rates notice will be amended.

Please note: The lodgement of objections for rates does not change the due date of payment for rates.

Queries about land use

Differential General rates imposed by the Council are based on various land use categories. If you consider that the land use category is incorrect you may object, in writing within 60 days of service of the rates notice to:

The Chief Executive
City of Charles Sturt
PO Box 1 Woodville SA 5011

State the grounds for your objection, your opinion of the correct land use and include information to support your application.

Natural Resources Management Levy

Council collects a regional Natural Resources Management (NRM) Levy on all rateable properties on behalf of your regional NRM Board. The City of Charles Sturt is effectively operating as a revenue collector for the Adelaide & Mt Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board and revenue from this levy is not retained by the Council, nor does the Council determine how the revenue is spent.


In 2019/20 the NRM levy to be collected by Council is $2,937,786 (3% increase on 2018/19).

The NRM Board invests this levy in managing and protecting priority water, land, marine and biodiversity assets. For general NRM levy enquiries please contact Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges NRM Board on 08 8273 9100 or visit their website - Adelaide Mt Lofty Natural Resources Management Board

How much of my rates collected goes to pay other government levies and charges?

Council has to pay a number of levies and charges from the rates tax it levies.

This is in addition to the NRM levy of $2.9m which Council must collect from its ratepayers on behalf of the NRM Board.

Other levies and charges Council must pay from the rates collected include:

  • Solid waste levy - read more about the Bin Tax
  • Emergency Services levy
  • Planning levies and contribution to State government E- planning portal development
  • Dog and Cat management fees
  • Legislated Mandatory rebates including housing associations, schools, churches for which council levies rates but must then grant a rebate
  • Library levies
  • Motor vehicle registrations

For a typical ratepayer paying approx $1,377 in residential rates, $84 collected is paying these other government charges and levies or funding mandatory rebates.

Reasons why rates continue to increase

  • To maintain community infrastructure in excess of $1b like roads, footpaths and stormwater to an acceptable standard based on assessment of condition and useful life as outlined in Asset Management Plans;
  • Because the community continues to want a broad range of services with an increasing quality of service;
  • Due to rising costs for water, electricity, waste noting that we have responsibility for watering some 350 hectares of open space, responsibility for public lighting and domestic and hard refuse collection;
  • Changes in legislation by State government without any cost recovery such as the changes to the Local Nuisance Act ;
  • Other changes in legislation where the cost of the service is far greater than the legislated fees such as in planning and building, food inspections;
  • Continued increase in mandatory rebates to supported accommodation of 75% which over last 10 years has cost $1.9m in lost revenue (233% increase);
  • Continued increase in EPA waste levy which in 2019/20 was an increase of $10 per tonne from 1 July 2019 and then another $30 per tonne on 01/01/2020, a total of 40%;
  • Since July 2010 the waste levy has increased from $26 per tonne to now $140 per tonne, a total increase of 438% which for council has been a total cost increase of approximately $3m;
  • Increase in Emergency services levy which has increased since 2007/08 by 245%;
  • Staffing costs endorsed in line with the current Enterprise Bargaining Agreement which as a service industry, employee costs comprise approximately 36% of the total operating costs.

However Council is conscious that these rising costs must be managed to ensure rates remain affordable by:

  • Continuation of ongoing reviews to ensure services are provided efficiently and effectively and provide value for money;
  • Increases in staffing (FTE) have to be justified through a business case and identified as an annual operating project for review by Council;
  • Recurrent budget is developed annually using zero based budgeting to ensure cost savings are captured;
  • Ongoing budget assurance work in reviewing trends in expenditure which over last 2 years has resulted in $2.3m being permanently removed from the budget;
  • Lobbying against legislative changes that impose costs to Council without cost recovery.

Independent data prepared for the LGA by the SA Centre of Economic Studies (SACES) shows Council Rates in Australia  have grown the lowest of tax revenues of each sphere of government over the past 45 years;

Index of Real Taxation Revenue

Below are the overall average increases for Charles Sturt since 2014/15:

Total Average Rate Increase from 2014-15

(please note if rate capping had been legislated our overall increase in 2019/20 is approx 1% less than the cap of 2.9% determined by ESCOSA)

The value of my property has gone up, will my rates go up by the same amount?

No, not necessarily. Council rates are a form of property taxation and property values play an important part in determining how much each individual ratepayer contributes relative to another.

As it is a system of taxation the rates paid may not directly relate to the services used by each ratepayer.

Once Council determines its budget, it then divides the amount of money it needs to raise from rates by the total of all individual property values in its area to arrive at what is called “the rate in the dollar” (RID). In this way it can multiply the rate in the dollar by individual properties values to produce the rates bill for each property and know that in total, rates paid will equal the amount set in the budget to be raised from rates.

Valuations do not determine the rates income of a council but are used only to divide the total rates amount among individual ratepayers.

Property values are therefore ONLY one part of the calculation for how much each ratepayer contributes.

Councils must review the rate in the dollar annually to make sure they only raise the budgeted rate revenue required.

For Example: a person with a property value of $450,000 will contribute relatively more than someone with a property value of $400,000. So, although the value of your property may reduce if the rate in the dollar has increased then the amount paid in rates can be more than what you may have paid in a previous year.

Refer graph below for distribution of residential rates.

In 2018/19 some 7,885 residential ratepayers will pay less rates than in 2017/18 as their property valuations rose less than the average across the City.

Residential Rates Increases 2019-2020 graph

72.1% of residential ratepayers will be levied a rates increase less than 2.5%.

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