What is a Special Rate or Charge Scheme

    The Local Government Act 1989 (the Act) provides Council with power to levy a special

    charge on any person whom Council considers will obtain a special benefit from the

    construction of unmade roads, footpaths, kerbs, drainage, or other infrastructure works.

    Why is a Special Charge Scheme Necessary?

    There are several unmade roads in the urban areas of the Mitchell Shire that are

    currently listed on Council’s Road Register. There are also several locations which do

    not have footpaths, kerbs and/or drainage. The Special Charge Scheme Policy is a document that operates in a legislative framework and works on the basis that it is not unreasonable for persons owning property to make an equitable contribution towards new infrastructure where they receive a special benefit.

    How does Council decide on the appropriate scope and standard of work?

    Council will utilise its Infrastructure Design Manual for developing standards for new or upgraded infrastructure. Council may also work with the community to determine the preferred community standard. Council will work with Advisory Committees for larger and more complex development proposals. 

    How do I have my say about weather a Special Rate or Charge Scheme should go ahead?

    All affected property owners regardless of their street location or level of contribution have an equal “vote” indicating if they wish to object to, or support, a proposed scheme. Under the Local Government Act 1989 legislation, a scheme that seeks more than 2/3 the cost of the total works cannot proceed if the majority (65% or more) of affected properties (owners) object, unless the proposed scheme is for drainage works required for public health purposes. Under this policy, Council will not declare a scheme without 65% minimum support from affected property owners.

    How can I comment on a proposed special rate or charge scheme?

    If 36% or more of the property owners object to the proposal within 28 days of receiving notice of Council’s intention to declare a scheme, Council cannot declare the scheme. The Act provides for persons who are liable under a special charge scheme the right to make submissions about the proposal setting out reasons why they may not wish to participate in the proposed special rate or charge scheme. If Council declares a special rate or charge scheme, the affected persons may request a review by The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for an independent determination.

    How does Council register my “vote” if I do not respond to the public notice letter?

    If no response is received from the affected property, Council will assume you do NOT object to the proposed scheme.

    How much will I have to pay as a Property Owner?

    Ministerial Guidelines have been prepared to assist and guide Councils in complying with

    the provisions of the Act. The Guidelines advise on how to calculate the maximum total

    amount that a council may levy as a special charge. Council may decide, at its own

    discretion, to levy a lower amount than the maximum total levy. However, the Guidelines

    do not deal with the criteria used to determine the actual apportionment of cost to be

    charged to individual owners.


    The calculation of the actual apportionment of costs for each property is a separate process

    from the calculation of the maximum total levy. As each scheme is developed, an equitable

    and appropriate apportionment will be developed. It should be recognised that each

    proposal may have its own unique set of circumstances that have to be considered

    when calculating an apportionment.

    How will I be informed about what the project scope is, the costs and timeframes?

    The Council will consult with all property owners during the implementation of a scheme. This will occur before a scheme is declared, but at the point of Council’s intention to declare a scheme, all affected property owners will be sent a letter including:

    • The project design concept
    • Estimated project costs
    • Cost apportionment and contribution ratios (which include a 10% variance);
    • An explanation of the special charge Scheme process.

    How am I charged as a participant in the scheme?

    Contributors to the scheme can pay their charge in one lump sum, or in quarterly

    instalments over a specified period (agreed by Council as part of a payment plan) as outlined in the declaration of the scheme. Where a contributor chooses to pay their apportioned cost by way of

    a payment plan, Council will include an interest cost not exceeding 1% of Council’s estimated borrowing cost.