Marshall Government moves to cap council rates

The Marshall Liberal Government will today move to introduce council rate capping legislation to ease cost pressures for South Australian households and businesses.

The introduction of the Local Government (Rates Oversight) Amendment Bill 2018 will deliver on a key election commitment within the Marshall Government’s first 100 days.

“The State Liberal Government has a comprehensive reform agenda to ease cost of living pressures for South Australians, and capping council rates is a key part of that plan,” Premier Marshall said.

“Over the last decade council rates have increased at a rate that is three times the level of inflation, and it is simply unacceptable.

“It’s been widely reported that some councils have wasted ratepayers’ money on indulgences like golf memberships, apple watches, luxury cars and unnecessary overseas travel.

“Well, enough is enough – we will cap council rates to protect households and businesses from unjustified rate hikes that are used to pay for these exorbitant expenses.

“Since the Liberal Party announced our rate capping policy, some councils have already tightened their belts and kept rate increases to a minimum which is great news for their ratepayers.

“Rate capping will make councils more accountable to the people they represent and also ensure that councils have to look within for efficiencies and aren’t able to arbitrarily increase general rates.

“This legislation will deliver more oversight, transparency and accountability for the local government sector.”

Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government Stephan Knoll said that by working constructively with the local government sector South Australia will have the best rate capping policy in the country.

“This rate capping policy strikes the right balance between keeping cost pressures down for South Australian households and businesses but also facilitating growth in the local government sector,” Minister Knoll said.

“The State Government’s priority is to keep cost pressures down but we don’t want to get in the way of growth or the delivery of productive infrastructure and necessary services.

“That’s why, through consultation with the local government sector, we have devised a rate capping scheme that will enable councils to still increase their rates if they can convince ratepayers and the independent regulator that the increase is necessary.

“I look forward to continuing to work side by side with the local government sector to ensure South Australia has the best rate capping scheme in Australia.”