The Local Government Association welcomes the new opportunities for business and investments in local communities announced in the 2017/18 State Budget, but there is also disappointment that some State programs come at a cost to local ratepayers.
LGA President Mayor Lorraine Rosenberg said: “While we’re happy to see some big projects announced in today’s budget that will greatly benefit many local communities, we are concerned that this is another budget propped up by state taxes and levies collected via council rates.”
Last year’s state budget announced increased costs for councils that will continue to hit home in 2017/18. Unfortunately 12 months on there is no relief for councils and their ratepayers.
The planned increase for the Solid Waste Levy to $87 per tonne from 1 July 2017 will go ahead despite there still being no forward plan to spend the $120 million that will have accumulated in the Green Industries Fund by the end of the 2017-18. Further rises are also planned in the following two years, taking the Levy to $103 per tonne in July 2019 and increasing council costs by around $72 million over four years.
“It’s extremely disappointing that the State still hasn’t declared their intentions for the use of this fund, nor have they announced changes to the level of extractive royalties that many councils are required to pay.
“The so-called ‘rubble royalties’ will continue to impose a burden of approximately $1,000 per kilometre onto the cost of unsealed road maintenance in 23 country council regions. Our regions cannot afford this barrier to economic development” Mayor Rosenberg said.
Mandatory council contributions towards the State’s e-planning system, estimated at more than $1 million per annum, will kick in next year despite the fact that the system is yet to be built. Councils are still collecting the State Government’s NRM levy at some expense to the sector and the State’s community housing policy is set to cost councils an additional $4 million in 2017/18.
LGA President Mayor Lorraine Rosenberg said: “it is important that every sphere of government collects sufficient revenue to fund the programs and services that communities need, but this needs to be done transparently and people need to see where their tax dollars go”
“Through their long term financial plans, annual budgets and financial statements, councils are highly transparent in showing communities where each dollar is spent.
“The LGA will continue to ensure that every rate payer knows how much state tax is hidden in their council rates notice.”
To review the LGA’s analysis of what it means for local government and SA councils please click here..