Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal decision allows Muswellbrook Shire Council to proceed with projects, including Olympic Park Sports Precinct upgrade, ongoing job creation

A NUMBER of projects are expected to come to fruition after the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) approved Muswellbrook Shire Council's Special Rate Variation (SRV) on Monday.

Council, in welcoming the announcement, noted the SRV of 10 per cent, in real terms, to rating in residential, farming and business categories in the LGA (Local Government Area) and 14.7 per cent in the mining category.

"Residents will not see an increase over last year because the rating increase started in the 2018/19 financial year," mayor Martin Rush said.

"As a result of anticipated increased mining activity, residential rating will increase, in practice, by just five per cent.

"Pensioners will see no increase as the pensioner rebate has been increased to offset what would otherwise have been the impact."

Council undertook its most extensive program of community engagement as part of the preparation of the application for the SRV, which identified and reconfirmed the community's strategic priorities.

IPART's decision provides council with the capacity to proceed with:

* Delivery of additional storm water drainage and road maintenance;

* Recovery of rates previously paid by the mining industry but lost due to conservation offsetting;

* Further investment in ongoing job creation for the shire;

* Upgrades of the Olympic Park Sports Precinct; and

* The development of the Regional Entertainment and Conference Centre.

The SRV will partially fund the Olympic Park Sports Precinct and Regional Entertainment and Conference Centre projects, with the balance to be met by grants and planning contributions.