Rates FAQs

Objects and reasons - differential rates

In accordance with Sections 6.36 of the Local Government Act 1995 and Council’s intention to continue levying differential rates and minimum payments for the 2020-21 financial year, the City is required to publish its Objects and Reasons for implementing the differential rate categories. This document below describes the objects of and reasons for each proposed differential rate and minimum payment.

General information about rates

Why has there been no increase to rates in 2020/21?

The intent of not increasing rates was to help provide ratepayers with financial certainty – in effect one less surprise in what is a difficult time for many. However, the periodic system of revaluations of properties undertaken by the Valuer General will result in some ratepayers paying more and some less than last year – while the revenue to the City of Cockburn remains unchanged.

What can make rates go up?

Rates can also increase if your property increases in potential rental value faster than others in your area. For example, if you make improvements to your home that increase its rental value then your share of rates will increase. However, changes to property values that affect the whole market – such as times of boom and recession – do not directly affect rates as the comparative value between neighbouring properties remains the same.

Your rates can increase if the Local Government requires more funds to provide local services and facilities. For example increases to wages and materials costs or if it builds new facilities or adds new services. Local Governments budgets and consequently funds required through rates are also affected by changes to charges by other sectors of Government such as electricity pricing.

Why don't rates go down when there is a drop in the property market?

This is because your rates are not directly linked to movements in the property market – only the value of your property in comparison with your neighbours. If rates were directly linked to the property market then rates would be far greater than currently. Using each Local Government’s budget as the starting point for setting the amount of rates required, protects ratepayers from increases that are not directly aligned with the provision of services.

Can I receive my rates notices by email?

Yes, the City provides the option of receiving your rates and instalment notices by email (eRates). Your six trailer passes are also included with your annual rate notice. To register for this service, visit eRates Registration and sign up. 

What services do my rates pay for?

The Council provides many services including:

  • Libraries
  • Child, youth, family, seniors and aged services
  • Community centres and sporting facilities
  • Weekly collection of waste and recyclables, waste management and disposal
  • Maintenance and upgrading of roads, drainage and footpaths
  • Spot landscaping and beautification
  • Land use planning and regulation
  • Building licensing, regulation and advice
  • Provision and management of beautiful parks, reserves, sporting facilities and ovals 
  • Management of beaches and beach reserves
  • Management of lakes and nature reserves
  • Free family concerts and events
  • Generous community grants and donations programs
  • Health services for the regulation and inspection of food premises, dust and noise monitoring to protect and improve community amenities, and management of contaminated sites
  • Provision of public art.

The 2020-2021 budget has continued delivering upon Council's financial strategy of low rate increases (none in 2020-21), controlled cost increases and reducing costs (where able to) through either procurement strategies or productivity and efficiencies measure.  These all contribute to the end goal of providing value for money to the City's ratepayers.  

Highlights of the 2020-2021 Municipal Budget are included in the Budget 2020-2021.  Documents and Publications

How many road side verge collections do I get throughout the year?

Council provide the following:

  • 2 general rubbish/junk collections

  • 2 green waste collections 

Find out more about verge collections.

When will I receive my rates notice?

The City of Cockburn's annual rate notice will be mailed out in mid August this year. Annual rates notices have been delayed by a month this year due to COVID-19 and its financial implications on the City's 2020/21 Budget.

You can also pay your rates in full, in four instalments throughout the year or via SmartRates to make it easier to manage rate payments throughout the year.
 
SmartRates makes your payments more manageable by allowing you to pay weekly or fortnightly ensuring that your rates are paid before the end of each financial year. You will have the option to spread your payment over 20 or 39 payments. To register for SmartRates, please complete the following eProperty form

If you do not receive your rate notice, please email us or call 08 9411 3444. Please provide the following details:

  • Full name
  • Contact details
  • Property address
  • Postal address
Why do I have to pay rates as I don’t use any of the facilities?

Every ratepayer uses one or more facilities provided by Council.

The moment you drive out of your property onto a road you are using a Council facility. If you live outside of the City and have a rental property, your tenant uses the Council's facilities.

What other charges are included in my rates?

The following annual charge is in addition to your rates and are shown on your rates notices as they apply to your specific property.

Emergency Services Levy (ESL) - State Government Charge

A compulsory charge for all property owners issued by the State Government. The levy is used to cover the cost of providing emergency services across the State. For 2020-2021, the rate in the dollar remains unchanged as per 2019-2020 as has been declared by Minister for Emergency Services.  For more information visit the Department of Fire and Emergency Services opens in a new window.

Specified Area Rates

Some areas of the City pay an additional rate over and above the general rates payable by others. In return, these residents receive a higher level of park and infrastructure maintenance than the City provides to other parts of the district. It is considered that the ratepayers and residents of the area benefit from the additional works and have better access to the facilities affected.  The rate in the dollar remains unchanged as per 2019-2020. 

Pool Inspection Fee

An annual swimming pool inspection fee may appear on your notice if you have a swimming pool or spa. This covers the cost of a compulsory pool fence inspection every four years at your property. The 2020-2021 annual charge is $42.95 (remained the same as 2019-2020).

Waste Charges

Rubbish and Recycling Cost Per Year
Rubbish Service 240L (Excluding Improved Residential Rated Properties) $458
2nd Rubbish Service $330
2nd Recycle Service $70
Surcharge to Unmanaged Bin Store $550
Rubbish Service (Rate Exempt Properties) $510
Mobile Bin Levy 240L $100
Shared Mobile Bin Levy 240L (Strata/Grouped Housing Developments) $33
What if my circumstances change?
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If your circumstances change in relation to your ownership or occupancy of the property, or your eligibility as a senior or pensioner, you must notify the City and the Water Corporation who will amend your registration as appropriate. Failure to do so may result in the cancellation of your rebate.

Visit the Change of Name/Address/Ownership page to advise the Council of your new details.

Will my property be re-valued this year?

Yes. The General Revaluation for Gross Rental Valuations (GRV's) occurs every three years in the metropolitan area.

The new GRVs will take effect on 1 July 2020.  Rating valuations are assessed as a snapshot in time reflecting the property market for your local area at the same date.

Unimproved Valuations (UV) are valued annually.

If you have any questions regarding valuations, please visit the Landgate website opens in a new window or contact Landgate direct on 9273 7373 quoting your VEN number

How do I calculate my rates?

Rates $ = GRV or UV x Differential Rate Category - any rates concessions (for single improved residential only)

GRV = Is your property's Gross Rental Value, which is the estimated rental income that may be reasonably earnt in a year.

UV = Is your property's Unimproved Value, which is the estimated value of land itself. For example, if there is a building on the land, the UV disregards the value of the building. UV's are used as the basis of rates for properties with a rural use.

Why is there a minimum payment?

The minimum payment is determined in conjunction with setting the rates in the dollar each year. The minimum payment ensures that all ratepayers make a reasonable contribution to the costs of providing services, facilities and infrastructure that is available to the community. To determine if a property is charged the minimum payment - if the GRV or UV, multiplied by the applicable rate in the dollar is less than the minimum payment, the property will be charged the minimum payment.

How are the valuations on which rates are based determined?

Landgate Valuation Services (Valuer General's Office) provides valuations (GRV or UV) for every property within each local government. Properties rated on a GRV basis are revalued every three years. Rural properties rated on a UV basis are revalued every year.

Rating valuations are assessed at a snapshot in time to reflect the property market in the metropolitan area.

In order to determine the GRV of a property, Landgate Valuation Services collects rental evidence to determine the estimated rental value for each property. Rental values may be influenced by factors such as location, size of the building, the age of the building and if there is a pool.

Whether or not a property is rented is irrelevant. GRV's are applied to all properties that are required to pay rates.

The UV is based on the value of the land itself. For example, if there is a building on the property, the UV disregards the value of the building. To determine the UV of a property, Landgate Valuation Services analyses sales in the area.

What can I do if I think the valuation of my property is incorrect?

If you believe your property has been incorrectly valued you may lodge an objection with Landgate Valuation Services within 60 days after the date of issue of the rate notice.

Landgate can be contacted on 08 9273 7373, or visit the Landgate website opens in a new window

If an objection is lodged the rate account is still required to be paid in full by the due date or by the instalment option. If a valuation is amended an interim rate notice will be issued showing any adjustments and a refund made if applicable.

Concessions, rebates and deferments

Is my property eligible for a rates concession?
Your property will receive a rates concession where it is a single dwelling under the Improved Residential property category and it has a Gross Rental Valuations (GRV) value that is $20,690 or greater.

Your rates brochure explains how you can work out the concession amount and includes a worked example.
I am a pensioner, can I get a rebate on my rate account?

Provided pensioners meet the eligibility criteria, they will be entitled to claim up to 50 per cent of their current years rates which is capped to a maximum amount of $750 and 50 per cent of the Emergency Services Levy (ESL) which is a State Government imposed charge to fund the fire brigade and the SES.

Full Pensioners are able to defer payment of their Rates and ESL charges.

Eligible ratepayers can register for a rebate opens in a new window online though the Water Corporation website. Simply follow the links to 'Concession', or contact them on 1300 659 951.

Seniors who meet the eligibility criteria are also entitled to claim a rebate of up to 25 per cent on rates and ESL charges only. This rebate is currently capped to a maximum of $100 on rates.

How much is the 2020-2021 pension rebate for my rates?

As part of the 2015/16 State Budget, the State Government announced that from the rating year commencing 1 July 2016, the 50 per cent rebate allowed to eligible pensioners on local government rates would be restricted to a capped amount.  Western Australia was the only State not to provide a dollar cap on Local Government Rates.

The pensioner rates capped amounts will be set each year, consistent with the manner in which seniors rates caps are set.  The gazettal of the cap amount usually occurs in late June, prior to the commencement of the rating year.  The pension rebate is remain unchanged for 2020/2021 financial year. 

The City does not administer the laws in regards to pensioner rebates.  If you wish to lodge a complaint regarding the capping of the pensioner rebate you will need to contact your local Member of Parliament.

Payment options and instalment plans

What payment options do you offer?

The City offers a number of payment methods ranging from BPay, direct debit, internet, Centrepay and phone as well as paying in person at the Post Office and Council Offices. Direct Debit payments can be made in full, by instalment or via weekly or fortnightly arrangements from your cheque or savings account. The SmartRates direct debit option can only be made via weekly or fortnightly payments.

To find out more visit the Pay My Rates page.

I can’t afford to pay my rates, what can I do?

The City is aware of ratepayers who are having financial difficulties. If you are unable to meet the required instalments offered, please contact us to discuss a direct debit payment plan to suit your circumstances. All applications must be made in writing.

For more information email us or call 08 9411 3444.

How can the City help pensioners to pay their Rates?

Over the past few years pensioners have benefited from increased rebates because the Waste Management Service charge and the CoSafe Levy have been incorporated in the Rate in the Dollar and the minimum payment for owners of Improved Residential properties.

Pensioners are encouraged to make a regular payment plan either by direct debit or through Centrepay, to pay off their rates each year. The Centrepay option is a free direct bill paying service for customers who receive a Centrelink payment.

For more information or assistance with your deduction request, visit Centrelink opens in a new window.

Obtaining a trailer pass

Am I entitled to trailer passes?

The City will issue you six free passes and for most ratepayers, the City will provide four verge collections, two junk and two green waste collections.

The trailer pass vouchers are on your annual rates notice and are barcoded for electronic scanning. Do not lose your rates notice as replacement trailer passes will NOT be issued.

Can I get additional trailer passes?

No. If you have used your six trailer passes you will have to pay when dumping your rubbish at the Henderson Waste Recovery Park.

Why do commercial and industrial properties not receive trailer passes?

Commercial and industrial premises generate more waste than residential owners. As such, trailer passes have never been extended to commercial and industrial property owners. Another reason is that many industrial property owners actually have private arrangements for their waste disposal due to the large volumes generated.

I have a vacant block of land. Why do I not receive trailer passes?

As vacant land owners do not pay the waste charge, they are not entitled to receive trailer passes as the cost of providing the trailer passes is built into the waste charge.

Feedback and complaints

If I am not happy with my rates, what can I do?

You have several options:

  • Contact the Rates Services team by email or call 08 9411 3444. Note: objections to your Rates Notice must be submitted in writing within 42 days of the notice issue date

  • Put any grievances in writing and address it to the CEO by email

  • ​Ask a question at a Council meeting (find out how to lodge a public question)

  • Speak to your Elected Member

  • Query a valuation

    • Your property's Gross Rental Valuation (GRV) or Unimproved Value (UV) are stated on your rates notice at the top right hand corner and are supplied to the City by the Valuer-General through Landgate Valuation Services. If you wish to query a valuation you can contact their office on 08 9273 7373.

    • Objections to your GRV/UV Valuations must be submitted in writing within 60 days of the notice issue date.

    • The making of an objection or appeal does not affect the liability to pay rates and charges by the due date. If the objection or appeal is successful, the rates will be amended, and a refund issued if applicable.

Is it better to put my grievance in writing and will I get a written reply? Who do I send it to?

All grievances should be put in writing and should be addressed to the Chief Executive Officer.

All letters will be replied to as the matter is researched and hopefully resolved.

When are the next elections?

The next election is in October 2021.

Can I arrange a meeting with the Mayor?

All rates complaints are dealt with by the administration staff not the Mayor or Elected Members.

You can contact the Mayor or your Elected Member but the outcome will not differ unless there has been an error in preparing the assessment.

Can I go to a Council meeting and ask why the rates have increased?

All ratepayers can go to any Council meeting to ask why rates increase. It should be noted that if you wish to attend a Council Meeting to ask questions, you must lodge a public question form before 10am on the day of a Council Meeting.

Find out how to lodge a public question.

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Contact

Address

9 Coleville Crescent,
Spearwood 6163

PO Box 1215, Bibra Lake DC,
Western Australia, 6965

Language Support

Cockburn Nyungar moort Beeliar boodja-k kaadadjiny. Koora, yeyi, benang baalap nidja boodja-k kaaradjiny.
Ngalak kaadatj dayin boodja, kep wer malayin. Ngalak kaadatj koora koora wer yeyi ngalang birdiya.

City of Cockburn acknowledges the Nyungar people of Beeliar boodja. Long ago, now and in the future they care for country.
We acknowledge a continuing connection to land, waters and culture and pay our respects to the Elders, past, present and emerging.