Reporting to Council

23 Mar 2021

What is proposed?

The Stormwater Management Services Charge (SMSC) is an annual charge levied on privately owned urban land that is categorised for rating purposes as residential or business, excluding vacant land.

Properties in the former Manly and Pittwater Council areas currently pay this stormwater charge. Funds raised from these charges support improvements to the drainage system to protect people and properties from flooding, enhance the health of local waterways and provide opportunities for the harvesting and reuse of stormwater.

Harmonisation of the rating structure requires us to consistently levy the SMSC across the Northern Beaches or remove the charge. Removing the charge would result in a reduction of $880,704 per annum in funding for stormwater projects, placing funding of future projects at risk.

Continuing the charge across the Northern Beaches would provide a sustainable source of funds for planned projects and provide an additional $1.1 million to extend the projects across the Northern Beaches.

We are proposing to extend these existing charges across all areas of the Northern Beaches at the current rate outlined in the table below.

Learn more about how this charge funds much needed stormwater projects and let us know your thoughts below.

Type of Property

Amount (charged annually)

Residential Strata Lots

$12.50 per property

Residential Single Dwelling

$25.00 per property

Business Strata Lots

Min $5.00 per property or the relevant portion of the charge for the whole scheme if it was one business parcel

Business – not Strata

$25.00 per 350 sq.m

​What considerations are being made for COVID-19 impacts?

We recognise this has been an extraordinarily tough period for many of our ratepayers.

That’s why we have successfully advocated to the NSW Government for a change to legislation which will allow us to gradually implement harmonisation over four years for ad valorem business ratepayers. As an additional support for business recovery, we are also proposing no harmonisation changes until 2022/23. The gradual harmonisation of rates and our ability to not apply any changes until 2022/23 are subject to the passing of proposed legislation by the State Government as well as the adoption of these changes by the elected Council.

Stormwater system and service fast facts

Northern Beaches Council Annual Report 2019/20

Projects currently funded from stormwater charges

In the 2020/21 financial year the SMSC is forecast to raise $880,704 ($346,532 former Manly and $534,172 former Pittwater).

These funds contribute towards the cost of projects in the former Manly and Pittwater areas including the North Harbour Gross Pollutant Trap (GPT) feasibility study, North Steyne GPT, Scotland Island drainage improvements, Newport Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) and provides for the ongoing maintenance of SMSC funded works including the cleaning of existing GPTs.

In 2019/20 the SMSC contributed funding towards seven projects across the former Manly and Pittwater areas.

These projects together with the ones listed above are identified on the map below.

Stormwater projects and funding (former Manly and Pittwater areas)

Continued funding for existing projects

The extension of the existing SMSC to all applicable Northern Beaches properties would raise an estimated $1.1 million for additional stormwater management projects on top of the existing $0.9 million.

In addition to enabling the continuation of stormwater improvements in the former Manly and Pittwater areas, the program would then be expanded across the Northern Beaches for projects such as a Freshwater Beach Stormwater Quality Improvement Device, various upgrades such as a culvert upgrade on Pringle Avenue Belrose, and pipe upgrades at Nandi Avenue Frenches Forest along with flood mitigation works such as the construction of a levee in Clearview Place Brookvale.

Continuing the SMSC, also maintains funding for projects planned for the existing $0.9 million SMSC program. This includes:

  • Shelley Beach drainage improvements
  • construction of the Newport Beach Stormwater Quality Improvement Device
  • drainage upgrades on Ponderosa Parade Warriewood, Alexander Street Manly and Scotland Island.

Without the SMSC, funding for projects like these is at risk.

The ‘Stormwater Management Services Charge Harmonisation Options Paper’ provides further background on the SMSC, stormwater management and potential programs that could be funded through the charge.

Funding for future projects and emerging issues

A Northern Beaches-wide Stormwater Management Services Charge would provide a sustainable source of funds towards addressing a number of emerging issues and opportunities. These include keeping the stormwater network at the right capacity in the face of climate change and further development along with improving the downstream environment by providing better stormwater quality.

A number of additional unfunded improvement projects have been identified including:

  • major and minor stormwater works for improving stormwater quality such as Gross Pollutant Traps and Water Sensitive Urban Design projects
  • stormwater flow improvements such as larger pipes and improved culverts.

Northern Beaches Council has also recently adopted a Zero Waste to Ocean Charter, that identifies principles to aspire to a 'Zero Waste to Ocean' outcome.

The charter focuses on community education, developing targets, improving waste removal and integrating best practice into all our stormwater and waste management, demonstrating a council and community sentiment to improving water quality in our region.

Rates Harmonisation