New rating system reflects best practice and fairness

12 Jun 2024 |
13 June 2024

In a move to reduce the cost of living burden and attract investment to the region, Southern Downs Regional Council is proposing a new differential general rate structure in the 2024/25 Draft Budget to balance equity across the residential and commercial rate base.

In late 2023, the previous Council commissioned a review by local government rating specialists AEC Group, and as part of recent draft budget workshops, the current Council considered this review, which recommended a series of changes to the rating system to ensure fair and equitable outcomes across the community.

Southern Downs Mayor Melissa Hamilton endorsed the move and reassured the community that three quarters of households would not see an increase in their general rates and that there will be no change to the residential general minimum rate under the new system.

“The key focus of this Council is to balance the cost of living pressures to the residential community while also attracting new investment to grow the region’s commercial and industrial base,” Mayor Hamilton said.

“The average overall increase in  generalrates is 2.5%, which is well below the rise in Council’s cost index of 3.9% and the CPI increase of 3.4%. Specifically for residential lots with a rateable value of less than $175,000, the average increase has been limited to 1.45%.

“Our goal is to create a more equitable rate structure for our residents, and this budget offers a rating structure that ensures everyone contributes their fair share to the services and infrastructure that benefit all of us.”

The 2023 review found that the rate burden placed on households was higher than the commercial and industrial sector and that some rebalancing was required.

Residential properties will now be categorised based on rateable valuation rather than water access and the lot size in order to distribute the rate burden more fairly across the region’s households.

A 10% rate cap on affected residential properties will be applied to smooth any increase for households over a number of years.

The majority of significant rate increases resulting from the review will be phased in via the application of rate caps for selected rating categories. All rate reductions resulting from the review will be passed through in full in 2024/25.

Your feedback is important
View the draft budget and comment online at Hard copies are also available at Council’s Administration Buildings and Libraries. Email your feedback to

Consultation opens: 8am Thursday 13 June 2024
Consultation closes: 5pm Friday 28 June 2024

The draft budget will be presented to Councillors for adoption at a Council meeting on Wednesday 24 July 2024.

Last edited date 13 Jun 2024