ON 21 June 2019 the NSW Minister for Local Government released the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal’s (IPART) final report on the local government sector. Within this final report IPART made a recommendation that the current $250 pensioner concession rebate on council rates be replaced by a new $1,000 per year rate deferral scheme.
This scheme would allow pensioners to borrow $1,000 a year against their home in an arrangement called a home equity release scheme. This means that you may borrow money using the ‘equity’ or ‘value’ of your home as security. The money borrowed is then paid off when you sell your home or is paid out of your estate when you die.
The Government would collect interest on top of the deferred rate scheme recovering the cost of deferring rates.
Concerned with this recommendation CPSA wrote to the NSW Minister for Local Government calling for the current pensioner council rebate to be continued and indexed annually, along with the water and wastewater rebate.
CPSA received a reply from the Minister in late September. The pensioner council rebate lives on to see another day.
The NSW Government has now ruled out adopting IPART’s recommendations on the pensioner council rate rebate in a letter by the NSW Minister for Local Government in response to a letter from CPSA.
“The Government has decided, after careful consideration, to rule out a number of recommendations it considers may adversely impact vulnerable members of the community. This includes IPART’s recommendation to introduce a rate deferral scheme for pensioners”, the letter said.
CPSA will continue to lobby for an increase to the council rates rebate, which hasn’t seen a rise since its inception in 1993.