|6 March 2017
The LGA is preparing to launch the biggest campaign in its history to fight for South Australian communities against cuts to council facilities and services.
Parliament – with the support of the Government – voted down rate capping legislation last year. However the Liberal Party is attempting to introduce rate capping into the Government’s Boundary Adjustment Bill currently before Parliament.
LGA President Mayor Lorraine Rosenberg said this campaign was designed to ensure that council services are not compromised by political opportunism in the lead up to the 2018 State Election.
“Putting it simply, local government is being taken for granted by some members of State Parliament – with the Liberal Party’s rate capping policy a prime example of this,” Mayor Rosenberg said.
“It’s also concerning that the Liberal Party has linked rate capping to council boundary changes. We are asking all political parties to again rule out forced amalgamations in South Australia.”
“Should rate capping legislation be passed, councils would be forced to cut services, as we’ve seen when rate capping has been implemented interstate.”
“This could include libraries, food safety inspections, aged care support, and economic and business development programs.”
“We will let our communities know what’s at stake if they lose their democratic right to decide the services they want their councils to provide.”
“I’ve written to all Mayors and asked them to table reports before their councils committing to supporting this sector-wide campaign.”
The LGA has previously spearheaded successful campaigns for the reinstatement of pensioner ratepayer concessions, and retaining a role for councils in planning matters.
Mayor Rosenberg said while the first two phases of this campaign would focus on promoting council services and facilities, the third phase would actively oppose the policy of rate capping, including targeted and marginal seat campaigning.
“Unlike political parties – who already have access to millions of dollars of taxpayer funds to campaign – the LGA won’t spend a single cent of membership subscriptions on phase three of the campaign,” Mayor Rosenberg said.
“Instead it will be funded through the LGA’s investment returns.”
Lord Mayor Martin Haese, City of Adelaide
“While the City of Adelaide has frozen the general rate in the dollar for the past two years to ease the financial burden on our ratepayers, we strongly support the LGA’s view that this should be a decision for individual councils.”
“Each council should be permitted to manage its own financial circumstances, and ultimately be accountable to its ratepayers for how it raises revenue and delivers services.”
Mayor Robert Bria, City of Norwood, Payneham & St Peters
"Rate capping is a direct attack on the democratic bedrocks of local voice and local choice, and limits the right of each council to chart its own course for the future.”
"Rate capping has proven to be a disaster in New South Wales and it is naive to believe this policy would bring about a different result if it were introduced in South Australia.”
Mayor Sam Telfer, District Council of Tumby Bay
"The proposed instigation of rate capping has the potential to be disastrous for rural communities.”
“Restricting the rate incomes of smaller rural councils will take away the ability of communities and their representatives to make decisions about infrastructure and service expansion.”
“Rate capping has failed rural communities interstate and would do the same in South Australia, meaning the service level gap will continue to widen as financial pressure on rural communities grows."
Mayor Ann Ferguson, District Council of Mount Barker
“As the State Government has designated Mount Barker as the regional centre for the hills, we are facing unprecedented growth and are transitioning rapidly from rural to urban. Under existing zoning, Mount Barker will become the second largest city in South Australia."
"Servicing this population growth and providing essential infrastructure has impacted on both council and its community. As a local government we value add to our region and unfortunately rate capping is just a short term gain and a long term loss for those who deserve better - our residents.”