When councils send us a higher cap application, we produce several resources that show why we approved or rejected the proposed cap.
Higher cap applications
Before 31 December each year, the Minister for Local Government sets a rate cap for the next financial year. The minister can set a cap that applies to all councils, a group of councils or a single council.
If the rate cap does not meet a council’s needs, the council can submit a higher cap application for up to four years of higher caps at a time. We assess these applications, then approve or reject them.
Our overview papers summarise the applications we receive and the decisions we make. They also outline our approach to assessing applications and observations from previous higher cap applications.
Our decision papers detail each council’s application and how we reached our decision.
We also publish each council’s application, any additional information provided by councils on request, and the expert advice that informed our decisions.
Key dates in the higher cap applications process
We follow a consistent timeline for each higher cap application cycle. Dates listed here are approximate.
|Item||Deadline (each year)|
|The Minister for Local Government publishes the rate cap in the Victoria Government Gazette||Date determined by the minister|
|Councils seeking approval for a higher cap may notify us about their intention to apply*||31 January|
|Councils submit their applications for a higher cap, which we publish on our website||1 February to 31 March|
|We assess council applications||February to May|
|We notify councils about our findings||Within two months of receiving a council's higher cap application|
|Councils formally adopt their budgets||No later than June|
* Councils are not required to complete this step. The ‘intention to notify’ date is intended to help smooth the application process by providing councils early advice and support.
Applying for a higher cap
Councils seeking a higher cap need to apply for a higher cap by 31 March each year.
The application needs to set out:
- the proposed higher cap for each specified financial year
- the reasons why the council is seeking the higher cap
- how the views of ratepayers and the community have been considered in proposing the higher cap
- how the higher cap is an efficient use of council resources and represents value for money
- whether other funding options have been considered and why those options are not adequate
- that the assumptions and proposals in the application are consistent with the council’s long term strategy and financial management policies.
Read more higher cap application information in our resources for councils.