The Environment Levy must be spent on the Environment.
We are calling on the Councillors of Wingecarribee Shire to ensure that the full amount of money collected for the Environment Levy is spent on the Environment.
- The Environment Levy was originally introduced in 2000.
- It was made permanent at 3.5% in 2019.
- Although the 3.5% levy has been collected from rate payers, a lesser amount has been spent on the environment.
- $1.5 million has been diverted away from the environment over the last 5 years.
- It seems that Councillors weren’t aware of this underspending.
Please contact the Council and let them know this is not good enough. That money must be returned to the Environment.
The Council must allocate all of the money raised by the “3.5% environment levy” for the environment.
The environment levy has always been expressed as a percentage of the general rates. In 2012 IPART allowed a special rates variation of 7.09% to be retained in Council’s income base for a fixed term of 7 years. The 7.09% comprised the 3.6% rates peg that was available to all councils, plus 3.49% which “In effect will replace the expiring environmental levy variation for a fixed term of 7 years, starting on 1 July 2012 and ending on 30 June 2019.”
In other words, in 2012 the environmental levy was expressed as 3.49% of the general rates and this was to last 7 years until 2019. It has since been referred to as the “3.5% environment levy”.
In May 2016 IPART allowed a special rates variation of 45.3% introduced over 4 years for major infrastructure and sustainability. It included an increase of 3.55% of the general rates to be introduced at the expiry of the environment levy in 2019-20. This 3.55% was for the continuation of the “3.5% (environment levy) which the ratepayers are already paying” (page 14 of the 2016 IPART determination). This percentage was to be absorbed into the general rates and made permanent. In other words, the “3.5% environment levy” was now to be raised as part of the general rates and not as a separate levy.
However, Council has not been allocating all of the money raised by the environment levy to the environment. They argue that the environment levy is the dollar figure they allocate, not the 3.55% of the general rates imposed on ratepayers for the permanent continuation of the levy.
Our community has a reasonable expectation that the money raised by the environment levy will all be spent on the environment.
Council may have the legal right to allocate less than the money raised by the environment levy, but in our opinion that is unconscionable conduct. This is particularly so at the present time when the environment needs increased funding, not decreased, in the face of the destruction of the devastating bushfires, species extinction and the challenges of climate change.
In essence, this under-allocation of the funds raised by the environment levy is a breach of our community’s trust.
The 2016 IPART determination can be accessed here.
Send an email to the councillors now
Send this email to all Wingecarribee Councillors and tell them to give it back.
Feel free to change our sample entirely or partially to convey your own message. Please be polite and assertive!
Give it backRead or edit the petition
How else can I help?
Apart from using the email petition provided above, there are other ways you can contribute to the Give It Back campaign.
PLEASE WRITE TO YOUR COUNCILLOR asking them to ensure that the full amount of money collected for the Environment Levy is spent on the Environment. Let them know you care. Let them know you want the Council to act. Find your councillor’s contact details here.
Have a question?
Thank you for your support
With love and rage,