What is a Special Charge Scheme?

    A Special Charge Scheme provides a way for Council to recover some of the cost of delivering works that provide a special benefit to the land owners included in the scheme.

    Scheme works may include the construction of sealed roads, kerb and channel, footpaths, underground drainage and other infrastructure improvements.

    The legislation governing Special Charge Schemes is set out in sections 163-166 of the Local Government Act 1989.

    Why does Council require land owners to pay for infrastructure works?

    Council rates are used to provide more than 60 different services across the municipality. This includes garbage collection and recycling, aged, disability and childcare services, parks and reserves, community facilities, library services and the delivery of capital works to renew existing infrastructure.

    The construction of new infrastructure requires a significant additional investment of funds.

    It is Council’s position that the costs of constructing new local infrastructure should be covered by the land owners that benefit from those works rather than covered broadly by all rate payers.

    This is achieved in two ways:

    »  In new subdivisions, the developer constructs the roads, drains, footpaths and parks required by the planning permit and includes the costs in the sale price of the new lots.

    »  In other areas, Council will propose a Special Charge Scheme where the benefiting land owners will pay part of the cost. Once a scheme is completed, the owners cannot be charged for the same work again. Council will fully fund the ongoing maintenance and future reconstruction of the infrastructure at the end of its useful life.

    How are properties selected to be included in a Special Charge Scheme?

    A property will be included in a proposed scheme when Council determines the property will receive a special benefit from the proposed works. This is a benefit that is over and above that received by other people who have not been included in the scheme.

    Properties that abut an unsealed road will generally receive special benefits from the sealing of the road such as reductions to noise and dust, improvements to stormwater drainage and improved property access and amenity.

    Do the proposed policy changes apply to previous Special Charge Schemes?

    No, the proposed policy changes will not apply to Special Charge Schemes previously levied by Council. The proposed changes would apply to any new Special Charge Schemes to be considered by Council.