Pay your rates and FAQs

You can pay your rates in any of these ways:

  • Post Billpay on the Post Billpay website using Post Billpay code 0231 or by calling 13 18 16. Your reference number can be found next to the Post Billpay logo on the bottom of your rates notice. You can also pay in person at any Australia Post outlet.
  • BPAY using your online cheque or savings account. Visit BPAY’s website www.bpay.com.au or talk to your financial institution for details. City of Newcastle Biller code is 57471
  • Direct debit - set up automatic payments to come out of your account on a regular basis over the phone by calling 024974 2000 or by using our Direct Debit Form (PDF)
  • Mail a cheque or money order payable to City of Newcastle crossed 'Not Negotiable' to PO Box 489, Newcastle NSW 2300
  • In person by cash, cheque, EFTPOS or credit card at our Customer Service Centre,12 Stewart Avenue, Newcastle West 8:30am to 4:30pm working weekdays.
    • We accept American Express, Visa and MasterCard only and a 0.75% service fee applies for credit card payments.

Rate assistance

If you are experiencing financial difficulties there are a number of ways we can help including:

  • Negotiation of special arrangements to pay rates and charges
  • Write-off of accrued interest
  • Deferral of rates and charges
  • Financial assistance through one of four local welfare agencies we have partnered with who provide $65 vouchers towards rate payment

For further information or to discuss any of these options please contact our Debt Management Team on 02 4974 2307 or mail@ncc.nsw.gov.au.

Frequently asked questions

Councils help local communities run smoothly. They administer various laws and regulations to help maintain and improve services and facilities for the community. These services may include community services, sporting and recreation services, environmental planning, public health, environmental protection and waste collection, treatment and disposal. The rates you pay allow your council to fund these services.

You should contact Council’s Debt Management Team as soon as possible after getting your Rates Notice. We can discuss the options available to help you.

Yes, go to Newcastle.enotices.com.au to register using the eNotice reference number on your rates notice. Find out more about receiving your rate notices by email.

Concessions are available for eligible pensioners. To be an eligible pensioner you must receive a pension from either Centrelink or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, and be entitled to a pensioner concession card issued by the Commonwealth Government. You can only claim a concession on the property if it is the sole or principal place you live.

Simply call 02 4974 2000 and have your Pensioner Concession Card handy.

Half of the total of your ordinary rates and domestic waste management service charge, up to a maximum of $250.

Although expanding the current concession may be desirable, the NSW Government has to take into account the budgetary implications of any change to current funding arrangements. The cost of providing mandatory concessions is met by both state and local government. Any increase would affect the capacity of the NSW Government and councils to provide other programs and services to the community.

Each parcel of land must be included in one of four categories for rating purposes – residential, business, farmland or mining. Council decides which category your property should be in based on its characteristics and use. Most people are charged ordinary rates under the residential category.

Categories are important, because rates differ depending on the category of the land. So if your land is, for example, categorised as residential you may pay a lower rate per dollar of land value than if your land is categorised as business. If you are not satisfied with the category given to your property, you may apply to council for the category to be reviewed. If you do this, council must notify you of their decision and the reasons for that decision. If you still do not agree with the category given to your property, you may appeal to the Land and Environment Court . You must do this within 30 days of receiving council’s review decision. Contact the court to find out how to lodge an appeal.

Every year, before the final amounts are fixed, councils must prepare a draft operational plan that includes their proposed revenue policy for the following year. This policy must include details of all rates and charges that the council is proposing to levy on ratepayers. The draft operational plan must be made available to the public.

The draft operational plan must be put on exhibition to give members of the public an opportunity to comment. This usually happens around April or May each year. Councils must consider any submissions by the public before adopting the plan. This is your opportunity to raise any issues about the rates and charges for the following year. Once the rates and charges have been adopted for a particular year, they cannot be changed until the next year.

Yes. The Local Government Act 1993 requires councils to levy an annual charge for providing domestic waste management services on all parcels of rateable land for which the service is available, whether or not it is actually used. It is considered that all property owners should contribute to the current and future provisions of waste services.

Urbanisation has resulted in increases in impervious surfaces and has significantly increased the volume of and pollutant load in stormwater flowing into urban waterways. These flows lead to waterway pollution as well as flooding in some areas. To help councils better fulfil their role in managing these stormwater issues, the Local Government Act 1993 was amended in 2005 to allow them the option of levying an annual stormwater management service charge. The purpose of the charge is to help councils fund new or additional stormwater management activities. These activities may include stormwater pollution prevention, flood mitigation, rainwater and stormwater harvesting, community education programs and stormwater drainage systems operations and maintenance.

Councils that choose to levy the charge have to meet certain requirements, including consulting with their community through their annual planning process prior to levying the charge. The maximum amount that a council can charge is $25 for an average residential block, and the charge can only be levied on properties where council provides a stormwater management service.

The amount of $109 comprises the average Hunter Catchment Contribution of $35 per property and the State Waste Levy of $74. This levy forms part of the Domestic Waste Management Service Charge. These are both collected by CN for the State Government.

Yes. However, they must notify you of this change and advise that you can seek a review by the council if you don’t agree with the category. This notice must also explain your appeal rights to the Land and Environment Court.

Councils don’t determine your land value for rating purposes. Land is valued by the Valuer General under the Valuation of Land Act 1916 (as amended). These valuations are carried out approximately every four years and you should get a valuation notice after it is done. If you don’t agree with the land value, you have 60 days to object. The Land and Property Information Division of the Department of Finance and Services will give you an objection form free of charge by calling 1800 110 038 or you can download a form at http://www.lpi.nsw.gov.au.

Even if you lodge an objection, you must still pay your rates while your objection is being considered. Whatever the Land and Property Information Division decides about your objection, they must advise you in writing. If you still don’t agree with the valuation, you have limited time to appeal to the Land and Environment Court. The response sent by the Valuer General will explain the final date for an appeal.

What is rate pegging?

Under the Local Government Act 1993, the total amount of income that a council can raise from certain rates and charges is limited. This is called the rate peg percentage. The rate peg is determined on an annual basis. Because of rate pegging, a council’s overall rates revenue cannot increase by more than the approved percentage increase. If overall land values rise, councils may have to reduce or otherwise adjust the amount of rates levied per dollar so that total income does not grow by more than the approved percentage increase.

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal of New South Wales (IPART) determines the rate peg that applies to councils’ general income. IPART is the independent economic regulator for NSW. IPART oversees regulation in the electricity, gas, water and transport industries and undertakes other tasks referred to it by the NSW Government.

IPART determines the rate peg that will apply to all councils for the year using a Local Government Cost Index. The Index assists in calculating the operational costs of councils in New South Wales. The rate peg percentage is calculated by subtracting a determined productivity factor for councils from the Local Government Cost Index. Further details about the methodology IPART uses to determine the rate peg can be found on IPART’s website at www.ipart.nsw.gov.au.

Rate pegging has been in place since 1977.

Under the Local Government Act 1993 (Act), councils are able to apply for additional increases in general income beyond the annual rate peg amount. This is referred to as a ‘special rate variation’. Under the Act, councils may apply for a single year increase under section 508(2), or a multi-year increase (of between two and seven years) under section 508A. IPART has been delegated responsibility for assessing and determining special rate variations, however the NSW Government has retained responsibility for setting the policy framework under which applications will be assessed. This is reflected in the Government’s Special Rate Variation Application Guidelines, which sets out the assessment criteria that IPART must use when assessing applications.

Councils may seek a special rate variation in order to undertake environmental works, fund town improvements, redevelop community and civic facilities, address maintenance backlogs and maintain or improve existing service provision. Local councils that are seeking special variations to general income above the rate peg amount are required to submit applications to IPART for review and assessment. The council must include details of its intention to apply for a special variation in its draft delivery program and operational plan and must consider any submissions received from the public. If a council’s application is approved, IPART will specify the percentage by which the council may increase its general income. 

In accordance with the Special Variation Guidelines, IPART must assess special variation applications against criteria set out in the Special Variation Guidelines.

Within rate-pegging, it is possible for some rates to increase by more than the rate-peg limit while others may increase by less than the rate-peg limit. In some cases, rates may decrease from the previous year. A council’s rating structure and valuation changes are the main factors that will determine what happens to rates on an individual property. A general revaluation by the Valuer-General may result in the value of some land in a council area increasing or decreasing by more than other land. Where this happens the rates burden will shift. Councils may decide to vary rating structures from year to year to compensate for this.

Yes. Rate pegging applies to a council’s overall general income and not to rates on individual properties. Within rate pegging, it is possible for some rates to increase by more than the rate peg percentage, while other rates may increase by less than the rate peg limit. In some cases, rates may decrease from the previous year. A council’s rating structure and valuation changes are the main factors that determine what happens to rates on an individual property. Rating structures may change significantly from year to year.