The pie chart outlines the areas in which Councils spend in a typical year.
Council Rates are based on simple principles, have low administrative costs and are the subject of virtually no evasion or avoidance, so people who do the right thing are not subsidising tax avoiders - however understanding how the general system and various options available to Councils impact on individual ratepayers can be complex. This information seeks to outline those complexities to promote better understanding of the rating system. It is important however that you read the information on your rates notice, talk to your own Council directly and that you are aware that if rates are not paid by the due date then late payment fees may be applied.
In 2005 the LGA commissioned an independent inquiry into the financial sustainability of Local Government in SA to clarify the financial pressures on Councils and their use of rates and other income sources. More information is available on this page: http://www.lga.sa.gov.au/fsinquiry.
- Council Rates - frequently asked questions(160 kb) - Frequently asked questions
- Council Rates Fact Sheet 1(1051 kb) - outlines a range of services which are funded by Council Rates
- Council Rates Fact Sheet 2(1027 kb) - outlines constraints, challenges and how services have expanded
- Council Rates Fact Sheet 4(1014 kb) - explains property valuations
- Council Rates Fact Sheet 5(1005 kb) - explains how property valuations are used in setting rates
- Council Rates Fact Sheet 6(1030 kb) - explains Council Rate rebates
The 68 Councils in South Australia must operate within the legal framework provided by an Act of the SA Parliament: The Local Government Act 1999 - and a number of other Acts which provide powers or place legal responsibilities on Councils (such as the Development Act, the Libraries Act and the Public Health Act). Combined, SA Councils spend more than $1.9 billion a year providing a range of essential services and maintaining nearly $20 billion worth of local community infrastructure (roads, drains, buildings) which is used every day of the year.
It is also important to understand that a common myth about Council rates - that Councils get "windfall" gains from growth in property valuations - is exactly that, a myth. Because Councils must re-set tax rates (rates in the dollar) each year to align with their budget requirements they have steadily reduced tax rates across the State to avoid "windfall" gains.