Understanding your Rates

If you own land, are the lessee of State-owned land, or the holder of Mining Leases or Claims, you are liable for the payment of rates.  Rates notices are issued to property owners twice a year in:

  • February (for the period 1 January to 30 June); and
  • August (for the period 1 July to 31 December).

Rates are due at least 30 days from the date of issue of the rate notice. The due date is shown on the front of the notice.

Your rates fund essential Council services like:

  • Roads and bridges
  • Waste collection
  • Parks and open spaces
  • Water and sewerage
  • Disaster management
  • Community facilities
  • Local laws
  • Libraries

The rates notice includes both general rates and charges.  The standard charges you are likely to see on the notice are listed below:

  • General Rates
  • Water Access and Usage
  • Sewerage
  • Wheelie Bin
  • Waste Management
  • Local State Emergency Services Levy
  • State Government Emergency Management Levy

Some properties will also be levied a special rate and/or charge.  These charges are on specific properties that receives a special benefit from the provision of a service, facility or activity.


The valuation of the property is used in the calculation of the of the Differential General Rate.  Any enquiries regarding valuations should be addressed to the Department of Resources, PO Box 937, Cairns QLD 4870 or phone 13 74 68.

How are my general rates calculated?

The value of each property, and the rating category of the property is used as the basis for calculating what each property owner pays.  Each rating category has a different rate in the dollar applied to the property value to calculate the General Rate.  Service charges are also added to determine your final rates and charges payable.

Within each rating category a minimum general rate applies to ensure that all owners contribute a minimum equitable amount towards the costs of delivering infrastructure and services. If the calculated General Rate is below the minimum set for the relevant rating category, then the minimum applies.

Council calculates a rate charge by multiplying the land valuation by the cents in the dollar set.  The rate depends on the relevant category/sub category, which is based primarily on the main land use.  If the calculated result is less than the minimum for the relevant category then the minimum rate is used.


Council offers a prompt payment discount on general rates.  Discount will only be allowed if all the rates and charges are paid in full and payment is received by Council by the due date shown on the notice.

It is recommended that payment is not left until the last day as Council does not accept responsibility for postal or late processing of electronic payments by third parties.


Outstanding rates and charges will accrue interest.  Interest also applies to properties with outstanding balances that have an approved arrangement to pay.

For more information, please refer to Council’s Budget.