2020/21 Budget - Rates review to ensure balance

Date published: 30 June 2020

Townsville City Council has revised its rating categories to level the playing field for some property types enabling an average 6% rates decrease for most businesses.

Mayor Jenny Hill said Council had undertaken a thorough review of ratings categories across the city.

“This was the first significant review of rating categories since the amalgamation of the former Thuringowa and Townsville councils in 2008 and included benchmarking against 19 other Queensland councils,” Cr Hill said.

“The review was not intended to increase revenue. Rather, it’s about ensuring consistency across the city. The new rating categories are close to revenue neutral for Council.

“There is no change to the rating for owner occupiers, but there was an anomaly in how we rated multi-unit residential properties.”

Non-strata multi-unit dwellings will now be assessed for rates in the same way as strata-titled units, eliminating a loophole that resulted in the owner of a large block of investment units paying only a fraction of the rates paid for an identically sized strata-titled complex.

Cr Hill said that the review also identified that the significant changes to retailing over the past decade required Council to change the way it rates small and large retail stores.

“The rates premium that used to be applied to properties in the central business district is gone, with those properties now paying the same cents-in-the dollar as a similar property elsewhere in the city,” Cr Hill said.

“While property values mean that CBD rates will still be higher than the suburbs, removing the rates premium will encourage inner-city businesses.

“The changing face of large retail also produced rates anomalies that we had to fix.

“Traditional shopping centres used to pay a much higher rate than the other newer forms of large retail like homemaker centres and stand-alone grocery stores. In future the rates for any land used for large retail will be based only upon the floor-area of the stores.

“Levelling the field for the large retail stores has enabled the Council to reduce rates for almost all other commercial land by an average of 6%, in turn supporting local jobs.”