Skip to main content

Council services at risk

2018_RateCappingBannerWebsite

 

Rate capping puts your community services at risk.

You might think "rate capping" sounds like a good idea because some State politicians say it's designed to save you money.

But it will actually cost you more than it saves.

There is strong evidence from interstate and overseas showing the negative impact rate capping has on communities.

Local councils invest tens of millions of dollars each year in community infrastructure and services. The majority of those services and facilities are discretionary, meaning councils are not legally required to provide them. But they still rely on rates collected from ratepayers, and you’d miss them if they were gone.

These services could be at risk if rate capping is introduced in South Australia. The things you value could be taken away from you.

There is no legal requirement for councils to fund libraries, provide recreation and sporting facilities, maintain jetties, or look after parks and gardens.

They don’t have to collect hard waste, undertake street cleaning, plant or maintain street trees, facilitate community events and festivals, or protect the public through food inspections.

Your rates pay for the services you want in your community. Rate capping threatens those services.

Don’t cap our communities. Don’t support rate capping.

To see more videos about council services at risk click here.

Take action now: follow us on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter

What is rate capping?

On the surface rate capping may sound like a good idea. But dig a little deeper and it soon becomes apparent that it this policy will cost communities more than it will save them.

Rate capping refers to a percentage limit being placed on the amount that councils can increase their total revenue from council rates each year.

Rate capping limits councils’ ability to provide local services and puts discretionary services at risk.

It’s an empty promise – rate capping will cost you more than it saves.

For further information please visit www.lga.sa.gov.au/ratecappingfacts.

Click here to download this as a printable fact sheet.

It will affect services

The sector’s opposition to rate capping is supported by compelling evidence from interstate and overseas that demonstrates the negative impact it has had on communities where it has been introduced.

Councils invest tens of millions of dollars each year in community infrastructure and services.

Rate capping places undue pressure on councils and has been shown to affect the maintenance of public infrastructure such as roads, footpaths, sports club facilities, parks and playgrounds – shifting the burden of repair or replacement to future generations.

It has meant the discontinuation of services that contribute to building strong, vibrant communities.

It has resulted in increased council fees and charges to offset the loss of income, meaning that promised cost-of-living savings are inaccurate.

It’s an empty promise

Council rates are only a fraction of the total taxes paid by Australians – less than 4% in fact.  (The federal government collects approximately 80% of the taxes, while state governments collect about 16%.)

ABS figures from 2014/15 show that South Australian councils raise the lowest revenue per capita of any state in Australia.

While rates per capita are higher in South Australia, council fees and charges are much lower here than they are interstate.

A cap on rates would put pressure on councils to raise additional revenue through increasing fees and charges – impacting disproportionately on those who can least afford to pay.

As the closest government to communities, councils understand many South Australians are doing it tough, and offer support to households struggling to make ends meet through mandatory and discretionary rebates, remissions and postponement of rates.

It’s undemocratic

In contrast to both state and federal governments, councils are required under legislation to collect and consider feedback from ratepayers before deciding what they will include in their annual business plan, and what the associated rate increase will be.

There are examples where this process has led to postponement of planned programs and therefore a revised (lower) rate increase. There are also examples where communities have elected to increase rates to receive higher service levels or undertake major local infrastructure projects.

The introduction of rate capping will negate the purpose of consultation, putting decision making power in the hands of a state government entity that is not accountable to local communities.

It’s unwarranted

In 2015 the South Australian Economic and Finance Committee undertook an Inquiry into Local Government Rate Capping Policies. It concluded that rate capping should not be introduced in South Australia, and recommended that local councils retain full authority to set their own rates.

Local government in South Australia is supportive of sensible local government reform that will drive efficiencies without hurting communities.

It will affect you

Most people are surprised to learn that the vast majority of services provided by councils are discretionary, with very few services mandated under legislation.

Rate capping would squeeze budgets to the point where all services that are not mandatory under legislation would be at risk of being cut, reduced, or not maintained.

There is no legal requirement for councils to fund libraries, provide recreation and sporting facilities, maintain jetties, or look after parks and gardens.

They don’t have to collect hard waste, undertake street cleaning, plant or maintain street trees, facilitate community events and festivals, or protect the public through food inspections.

Councils provide services in close consultation with their communities.  Under rate capping, the conversation will change from what councils and communities can do together, to what councils will stop doing because of forced budget cuts.

Why shouldn't I support rate capping?

The vast majority of services provided by councils are discretionary; very few are mandatory under legislation.

Rate capping would squeeze budgets to the point where all discretionary services would be at risk of being cut, reduced, or not maintained.

Compelling evidence from interstate and overseas demonstrates the negative impact rate capping has had on communities where it has been introduced.

Rate capping has been shown to affect the maintenance of public infrastructure such as roads, footpaths, sports club facilities, parks and playgrounds.

It has meant the discontinuation of services that contribute to building strong, vibrant communities.

It has resulted in increased council fees and charges to offset the loss of income, meaning that promised cost-of-living savings are inaccurate.

For more information click below

To learn more about how councils are part of your everyday click here.

Latest NewsView All

EventsView All

Back to top