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.”