ESCOSA releases council rate cap

The State Government has slammed Mr Malinauskas and the Labor Party for opposing rate capping and denying households cost of living relief, following the release of ESCOSA’s report.

Under the Liberals’ Local Government (Rate Oversight) Amendment Bill 2018, ESCOSA were charged with the responsibility of determining the local government Primary Rate Cap.

This rate cap would have been effective from the 2019-20 financial year, had it not been opposed by Mr Malinauskas and the Labor Party and passed through State Parliament last year.

ESCOA’s report has determined that the rate cap would have been set at 2.9 per cent – meaning councils would not have been able to increase their rates by more than this figure.

“Mr Malinauskas and the Labor Party have sentenced South Australian households and businesses right across the state to massive council rate hikes,” said Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government Stephan Knoll.

“If Mr Malinauskas and the Labor Party had supported our plan to cap council rates last year, council rates would have been capped from 2019-20.

“That means that over the next few months as families, pensioners and businesses open their council rates – they have Mr Malinauskas and the Labor Party to thank for these massive hikes.

“All Labor have done is play politics and last year tried to rush a bill through State Parliament without consulting the LGA and one which would have increased council in-fighting and done nothing to keep rates down.

“Now that we know what the rate cap would have been, we know which councils are hurting their ratepayers with above the odds rate hikes.

“The rate cap proposed by ESCOSA is approximately the same as the Local Government Price Index.

“This means it would have helped strike the right balance between protecting ratepayers from massive hikes and enabling councils to deliver essential services and projects.

“It beggars belief that some councils continue to run a profit and are still jacking up household and business rates above what they should be.”

The Marshall Government is currently working with the local government sector and undertaking a thorough and comprehensive reform process, with a view to introducing a bill into State Parliament later this year.

The reforms will seek to help lower costs, cut red tape and increase accountability, responsibility and transparency.