LGA Board commits to sensible local government reform
The LGA Board has today reaffirmed a commitment to work with all Members of Parliament to deliver local government reforms that will result in real and lasting benefits for communities.
However, the local government sector won’t accept reforms that are not in the best interest of communities and ratepayers.
After careful consideration of the reform proposals outlined in the State Government’s Local Government (Rate Oversight) Amendment Bill, the Board has resolved to unanimously oppose this legislation.
This decision was made based on a number of factors, including a lack of evidence that the legislation will drive efficiencies or savings, and the failure of similar rate capping schemes interstate to build stronger communities.
Councils and ratepayers have long battled rising costs and we welcome the State Government’s commitment to help lower the cost of living for communities.
Our sector will keep working hard to contain costs and we call upon the State Government to do their part and provide immediate relief to ratepayers by stopping cost shifting to councils. State Government decisions such as increasing the Solid Waste Levy by 15 percent, increasing the NRM Levy by up to 9 percent and taxing councils to build safer roads, add millions of dollars to rate notices every year.
This has to stop.
The LGA is building on the success of our sector-wide procurement and insurance schemes and will launch a new range of commercial services for members that will offer significant savings to councils – and their ratepayers. Our recent refresh of the sector’s mutual liability and workers compensation schemes will deliver $43 million in savings to ratepayers over the next decade.
Local government is ready for reform but councils can’t do it alone. The LGA wants to partner with councils, the Government and Parliament for sensible, evidence-based changes that will deliver real and lasting benefits.
Benchmarking for councils, standardising council audits, a better code of conduct system, and considering opportunities to diversify local government revenue are all potential reforms that have been identified by the sector.
Local Government is overseen by the Ombudsman, ICAC, the Auditor General, the Minister and the State Parliament. However, councils are ultimately accountable to their communities, and all eligible voters will have the opportunity to participate in local democracy this November.
The LGA Board is passionate about keeping local decision making close to communities and encourages all residents who are passionate about the future of their local area to get involved, and help shape their councils and communities for the coming four years. Nominations for council elections open 4 September, and close at 12 noon on 18 September. The Local Government (Rate Oversight) Amendment Bill is expected to progress to the Legislative Council next month, and the LGA will be urging all parties who opposed rate capping in the lead up to the 2018 state election to vote against it.