Local government rates are set according to NSW government valuations conducted every 3 years on the Unimproved Capital Value of the land (ie not including buildings and other improvements).

NBC is currently applying the rate structures of the three former LGAs, but the NSW government says amalgamated councils have to harmonise those separate rate structures into one structure, for introduction next July. To keep a government promise, the resulting income must not total more than the current rate pathway (ie rates as affected by IPART adjustments).

This is a very simplified summary taken from the NBC online briefing held 14 December. (This is a very technical area and we apologise in advance for any errors of fact. We have included a link to the Council agenda paper which contains a detailed analysis.

Each former LGA had a different approach to rating.

Residential & also Business rates: overall, Manly currently has the lowest, Pittwater just below the average, Warringah the highest.

NBC has prepared 4 harmonisation scenarios, benchmarking each LGA in turn and a fourth (staff preferred) scenario. The 3 benchmarking scenarios favour one LGA over the others and will be resisted by ratepayers in each LGA (eg the scenario favouring Manly will be resisted by the other 2 former LGAs, etc).

The 4th scenario reflects a compromise based on the current reality and will affect each LGA according to the current rate situation (see above).

Residential rate

There are two types:  Minimum (capped) up to a certain valuation amount (currently around $600,000 UCV) and Ad valorem. The former really only relates to properties at the lower end of the market and some apartments. The latter rate is a percentage of the UCV of each property.


Under the preferred council ‘Scenario 4’, Manly ratepayers on this rate will pay $107 pa more, Pittwater $36 more & Warringah $55 less.

Ad valorem

The current preference ‘Scenario 4’ proposes that on average, Manly ratepayers will pay 26% more, Pittwater 3% less and Warringah 6% less.

These changes are based on the current rate situation where Manly ratepayers pay lowest, Pittwater is almost average and Warringah pays highest.

NBC state that 76% of ratepayers will pay less, but that is still to be tested.

Business rate

Because Business rate structures differed more widely between LGAs, Scenario 4 proposes that on average, Manly ratepayers will pay 42% more, Pittwater 24% more and Warringah 10% less. This reflects the disparity in what they now pay.

Other charges

Waste charges

These have already been harmonised, with most Pittwater ratepayers paying less.

Stormwater charges

Following NSW government introducing optional separate stormwater charges some years ago, Manly & Pittwater both introduced separate fees, but Warringah didn’t. Currently those fees are applied to stormwater projects only in the relevant former LGA area. If harmonised, based on the current charges, Pittwater ratepayers should pay less, but Warringah ratepayers will need to start paying the charge.

Pensioners and hardship

The proposal is to apply the most generous of the conditions for these, currently Warringah’s, over the whole LGA.

NBC has been discussing with the NSW government the phasing in of these changes over a number of years (10% in year 1 etc) rather than applying the total from the 2021-22 FY.

The Scenarios, including the preferred scenario, are being submitted to Council 15 December. Staff propose that NBC exhibit the plans from December 2020-February 2021, together with an online calculator so individuals can calculate their rate total under each Scenario.

You can read the Rates proposal including very detailed analysis at Agenda Item 9.1  https://www.northernbeaches.nsw.gov.au/council/meetings (Attachment # 1)