Council is required to categorise land into four categories:
(Sections 514, 515, 516, 517 518 and 519 Local Government Act,1993).
A rateable person may apply to Council at any time for a review of the category (Section 525 Local Government Act, 1993). Application forms may be obtained from Council. If unsuccessful, a rateable person may, within 30 days, appeal to the Land and Environment Court (Section 526 Local Government Act, 1993). Council must be notified in writing within 30 days of a change in the category from one to another (Section 524 Local Government Act, 1993).
Categorisation of Land as Farmland for Rating Purposes
What is Farmland?
In order for land to be categorised as Farmland, Section 515 of the Local Government Act, 1993 states:-
Land is to be categorised as "farmland" if it is a parcel of rateable land valued as one assessment and its dominant use is for farming (that is, the business or industry of grazing, animal feedlots, dairying, pig-farming, poultry farming, viticulture, orcharding, bee-keeping, horticulture, vegetable growing, the growing of crops of any kind, forestry or aquaculture within the meaning of the Fisheries Management Act 1994 , or any combination of those businesses or industries) which:
a) has a significant and substantial commercial purpose or character, and
b) is engaged in for the purpose of profit on a continuous or repetitive basis (whether or not a profit is actually made).
To assist with consideration of requests for farmland category rating, Council has developed a form titled "Request For Further Information In Support For Change Of Category Of Land To Farmland For Rating Purposes", which can be downloaded below.
This form has been designed to provide sufficient information for Council to determine if your property complies with legislation governing categorisation as FARMLAND for rating purposes (Chapter 15, Part 3 and Part 3A Local Government Act, 1993, as amended).
Categorisation for rating purposes has no correlation with the zoning of land. Zoning is for planning purposes (i.e. what types of developments can be undertaken on land) whereas land is categorised purely for rating purposes according to the actual use of land. Council is required to categorise all land as one or the other of the following categories; Farmland, Residential, Business or Mining (Sections 514 to 518 of the Local Government Act, 1993).
To assist Council in making a fully informed decision concerning the categorisation of your property, it is recommended that you provide the information requested in this document in full with as much detail as possible.
The form consists of four parts:
a) Property Information
b) Dominant use of Land
c) Commercial Purpose or Character
d) Purpose of profit on a Continuous basis
Please click on the following link to read the policy regarding categorisation as Farmland for rating purposes.
Farmland Waste Charges
An application may be made for consideration to have the number of General Waste Disposal Charges reduced to the number of actual residences that exist on adjoining land holdings. Click on the link below to complete an application form.
How does council decide which category your property is in?
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. The Local Government Act, 1993 sets out the criteria Council must use in determining the category of individual properties.
What can you do if you don't agree with the categorisation of your property?
Categories are important, because rates differ depending on the category of the land. So if your land is, for example, categorised as farmland 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.
Can council change the category of your land?
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.