What is a special rate and charge scheme?

The Local Government Act 1989 (‘the Act’) enables councils to levy a special rate, a special charge, or a combination of these, to help pay for any council service or activity that specifically benefits a particular group of property owners.  

A special rate and charge levy is charged to each rateable property in a shopping centre precinct. We (Council) collect the levy once a year as part of the annual general rates collection process and issue the funds back to business/traders associations twice a year after reviewing their financial statements and business plans.

Business/traders associations spend their funds according to their strategic business plans. They may use the money to offset costs for advertising, promotion, centre management, business development and other incidental expenses associated with the business of shopping precincts.  

Special rate and charge schemes in Boroondara are put in place for 5 years, after which they are renewed if there is continued commitment from the participants in the scheme.

We are one of several councils in Victoria that run special rate and charge schemes.  

Which businesses in Boroondara participate in a special rate and charge scheme?

There are 53 shopping centres in Boroondara.

Of these, 11 are represented by a business/traders association whose role is to coordinate activities and represent the needs and interests of the businesses in each centre. As incorporated associations, these are governed by Consumer Affairs Victoria under the Associations Incorporation Reform Act 2012.  

Of these 11 shopping centres, 8 have also opted to put a special rate or charge scheme in place. These are:

The 3 shopping centres represented by business/traders associations that do not have a rate and charge scheme are:

What are the benefits of a special rate and charge scheme to businesses?

Collectively, the 8 special rate and charge schemes in Boroondara raise approximately $6.8 million each year. These funds enable the business/traders associations to pay a coordinator to:

  • implement marketing activities, events and activations to promote traders and attract visitors to the precinct
  • improve the shopping precinct’s online presence
  • attract investment to the precinct
  • advocate to us and to other levels of government on behalf of the traders and the precinct
  • provide support, networking opportunities and training to local traders.  

Generally speaking, special rate and charge schemes increase the capacity of local shopping centres to:

  • become social hubs for the local community  
  • facilitate a ‘buy and support local’ culture  
  • initiate and promote information-sharing and collaboration with community organisations and local councils.

Evidence shows that shopping centres within Boroondara with a special rate and charge scheme generally have a lower vacancy rate than shopping precincts without one.

Business/traders associations must routinely meet certain obligations – set both by legislation and by Council – to receive these funds. Read more about our mutual obligations in the Special rate and charge scheme document below.  

More information

  • Download more information below, including details on the process to set up a special rate and charge scheme.
  • Contact us to request a copy of our Trader Association tool kit, and for support in setting up a business/trader association or a special rate and charge scheme:

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