Last Tuesday marked an important milestone in the future of Port Stephens, as Council endorsed lodgement of an application to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) for a rate increase, known as a Special Rate Variation (SRV).

The application comes on the back of Council’s recent public exhibition of its Integrated Planning and Reporting (IP&R) documents, which detail the proposed management of a SRV, should it be approved.

Set to fast track hundreds of projects across Port Stephens, Mayor Ryan Palmer says Council has listened to the community’s feedback to deliver more right across the area:

“At the heart of what we’re proposing is our aim to provide more for all areas of Port Stephens – major projects and enhanced community services to benefit all, along with location specific projects for our local communities.

“We know that if we remain with our current rates income, we can continue our current services however we won’t be able to take on or maintain a range of new projects. This Council strongly believes that our community deserves more.

“We also know affordability is a key issue, and we’re proposing a new Rates Assistance Program to provide financial assistance to those who may be financially vulnerable.

“It’s now time for IPART to review our application and to make their determination. They will soon be asking for feedback from the community and I encourage all within our community to make a submission. This is our future, and our Port Stephens,” Mayor Palmer said.

Council’s application for a rate increase of 7.5% per annum (including rate peg) over a seven-year term is due to IPART on 11 February 2019.