Council Services / Community



What are rates?

Rates are a land tax charged by councils, on people who own property in the council area.


How are rates calculated?

First, the State Government Valuer-General estimates the amount of rent your property would receive a year. 

Next, the cost of providing community services is calculated. 

Other general income councils may get, such as fees, rent, investments or any government grants, are subtracted from the cost of services. 

The remaining budget needed is then divided among property owners in the council area, by charging a percentage of the estimated rental return of each property. 


Why are some rates different to others? 

The number of property owners in a council area, the rental value of those properties, and any ongoing or special needs a community may have will all impact the amount of money property owners pay in rates. 

Generally valuable properties deliver higher rents, and so will pay a higher dollar amount of rates.  This is why a high-rise office building in a city will be charged a higher dollar amount for rates, while a small house away from the center of town, will tend to be charged a lower dollar amount. 


How are rates used?

Rates from property owners generally pay for all the ongoing community services that councils provide.  

Councils use rates to build and then sustainably operate essential community services like: 

  • roads
  • foot paths
  • on street car parking
  • street and road lighting
  • gutters and drainage for rain storms and floods
  • some bridges
  • development assessments, to check legality and safety of building and plumbing
  • waste collections and disposal
  • vaccination of school children to prevent communicable diseases
  • food inspections and testing to help make food safe to eat
  • public pool and beach water safety inspections and testing
  • public parks
  • public toilets and rest stops

Because communities have different needs, some councils provide special services, like those listed below.  On Flinders Island for example the community needs an airport.  Councils may provide these types of services, where the private sector or other levels of government are not providing the service.  Other examples include:

  • public sports grounds
  • indoor sports centers, gymnasiums
  • public swimming pools
  • community medical facilities
  • youth and aged services and facilities
  • off street car parking
  • walking, cycling and mountain bike trails
  • tourism centers, signage, scenic lookouts
  • recycling collections and drop off centers
  • museums and art galleries
  • online access centers

Councils are very careful to spend the community's money wisely and aim to help keep rates low.  Tasmanian councils fund their ongoing work without asking for money from the State or Commonwealth.