Plan to end mine rates transfer

Published on 14 May 2019


Councillors have proposed to end the annual transfer of mine rates onto residents after considering draft budget items at an Extraordinary Meeting of the Council tonight.

Council had previously been transferring 1% of mine rates onto the residential sector in an effort to end the city's reliance on mine rates, better align rates with the mines’ actual land use, and safeguard residents against a sudden rates spike if the mines were to close.

However the positive outlook of the mining industry combined with the likelihood of mining operations continuing until 2030 has seen Council decide to end the rates transfer.

Mayor Darriea Turley said although the logic behind the rates transfer remained sound, the current Council believes the city is currently in a position where the transfer can be halted.

"Mines currently pay 14% of the city's rates, and the long term plan was to get that figure down to 10% which we understand," she said.

"However given the security around the mines at present we don't see the need to continue the rates transfer.

"The situation with the mines may change in coming years and a future Council may see the need to reinstate the process, but this Council is comfortable ending the transfer for the remainder of its term."

In other budget matters, Councillors again only increased rates by the rate peg limit of 2.7% as set by the Minister for Local Government. 

Councillors also opted to rationalise assets across the city rather than increase rates above the rate peg to cover rising costs around their maintenance.

Council posted a budget deficit of $1.78 million in the 2018/2019 financial year, and is budgeting for a deficit of $1.48 million in 2019/20.

"We already know we can't afford to maintain the assets we currently have, so we need to undertake a thorough review process and ensure Council's assets are commensurate with the city's population and needs," said Mayor Turley.

"We would rather continue with an audit of our buildings, ovals, parks and other assets, and look at what we can rationalise rather than hit ratepayers with an extra cost."

Broken Hill remains one of very few Councils in NSW that has not increased rates above the rate peg in the last decade.

For a summary of the main issues proposed in tonight's draft budget please click here.

Those wishing to view full details around Council's budget are encouraged to view the business papers from this month's Extraordinary Meeting of the Council here.

Anyone wishing to make a submission around the budget can do so here.