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The LGA has hit back at comments from the Minister for Local Government in today’s Advertiser that South Australia’s councils “have been gouging ratepayers.”

LGA President Lorraine Rosenberg said that ABS figures from 2006-2016 show that SA council rate increases over this period were actually the second lowest in Australia.

“This data also shows that state government land taxes increased 72% over this period, and motor vehicle taxes by 56%, so it’s disingenuous to suggest the State Government has kept its tax increases lower than councils.”

“South Australian councils raise the lowest revenue per capita in Australia - $1,329 per person compared to the national average of $1,662.”

“The average rates increase this year in SA was $44, and a 2.5% rate cap would have saved Adelaide ratepayers a mere $6.”

Mayor Rosenberg said many of the cost pressures on councils were outside of the control of the sector.

“Between 2002 and 2016 the cost of electricity in South Australia increased 146%, while the cost of water rose by 121%.

“The State Government’s own Solid Waste Levy has skyrocketed from $5 a tonne in 2003/04 to $87 – and is scheduled to hit $100 in a few months’ time.”

“The savings councils work hard to find in their operations each year have been quickly eroded by the decisions of State Parliament to force councils to collect state taxes, subsidise state policies and take on state responsibilities.”

“Councils collect just 4% of national taxation, and in South Australia are responsible for administering $22 billion worth of public assets.”

Mayor Rosenberg said the LGA and local government sector are supportive of sensible, evidence-based local government reforms.

“The LGA has presented the new government with a comprehensive proposal for local government reform, based around changes that will improve efficiencies and transparency,” Mayor Rosenberg said.

“In Victoria their rate capping system is costing $2 million a year to administer – this is funding that would be better spent in SA on a benchmarking system for the sector that would help identify opportunities for continuous improvement.” 

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