Special Charge Schemes


Download FAQs about Special Charge Schemes(PDF, 29KB)

The 1989 Local Government Act provides Council with the ability to introduce a Special Rate or Charge Scheme seeking property owner contributions towards infrastructure projects such as roads, footpaths and drainage improvements. A Special Rate or Charge Scheme may also be appropriate for projects such as streetscapes and traffic management.

Special Rate or Charge Scheme projects fill the gap between existing infrastructure, often provided as part of the original land development, and current community expectations.


The preparation of a Special Rate or Charge Scheme for the provision of works or services involves Council advising potential beneficiaries and the public of the proposed scheme and its probable cost distribution. Council must initially "declare its intention" to fund part/all of the works utilising the Special Charge Scheme legislation. After considering formal submissions, Council can adopt, amend or abandon the scheme. Property owners required to make a financial contribution are advised of the Council deliberations.

Contributors can refer objections to an adopted scheme to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). VCAT has three options:

  1. vary the special charge in relation to one or more of the applicants
  2. set aside the scheme
  3. confirm the scheme as declared by Council

Once a Scheme has been formally adopted, Council proceeds with the works and upon completion, forwards an invoice to the contributors. Financial payments can usually be made over 4 years.

Powerline Relocation

Overhead powerlines can be replaced with aerial bundled cable (a single thick cable) or by undergrounding. When there is substantial support for a project, Council will undertake the facilitation of powerline relocation through the preparation of a Special Charge Scheme.

Why doesn’t Council use your Rates to fund improvements?

Council’s budget is committed mainly to the provision of services such as garbage collection, recycling, community facilities, aged, disability and childcare services, parks and reserves, library services, and expenditure on Capital Works. A large proportion of the Capital Works budget is allocated to preserving/maintaining existing assets for which Council is fully responsible.

Surf Coast Shire has significant demands for infrastructure improvements, with many kilometres of unmade roads, the need for development of footpath networks as identified in the Pathways Strategy and a demand for stormwater drainage improvements throughout the municipality. Unfortunately Council does not have the capacity to meet the demand for these improvements or fully fund these works from the general rates.

Therefore to gain the best use of funds available improvement works will generally require the involvement of abutting property owners in a property owner funded Special Rate or Charge Scheme

Read more FAQs about Special Charge Schemes(PDF, 29KB)