Bayside Mayor Joe Awada recently met with the Minister for Local Government to discuss legislative changes to the rates harmonisation process and tabled a Mayoral Minute at last night’s Council Meeting to report back on those discussions.
“I had a very productive meeting with the Hon Shelley Hancock, Minister for Local Government to discuss the legislated requirements for rates harmonisation and the difficult process ahead for Council and our ratepayers,” Joe Awada said in his Mayoral Minute.
“Minister Hancock acknowledged the difficult pathway Bayside must now navigate to ensure equity for residents without causing bill shock in July 2021.
“The Minister indicated her intention to introduce draft legislation to Parliament by the end of 2020.
“While a time limited rates freeze may have seemed appropriate at amalgamation, the world has changed significantly, with COVID-19 current unemployment levels unforeseen a mere nine months ago, and certainly not anticipated in 2016.
“To implement huge rate increases in a single year as required under current legislation will be difficult for our ratepayers. I am seeking a more flexible transition to rate harmonisation.
“We will continue to lobby the Minister for Local Government and the Office for Local Government, with the support of our Members of Parliament, to enact legislative change to the Rates Harmonisation process, through the NSW Parliament so that it can be gazetted before 1 July 2021,” Joe Awada said.