Councils are being castigated in the media for rate rises as usually happens this time of year.
This year the focus of this media frenzy is focused on the local government industry using the Carbon Tax (or whatever it is called) as justification for raising rates to make profits.
I have been quite busy lately and not blogged for a while. After listening to talk back radio today between work commitments I could not help myself. It was time to get back to blogging.
From this Unley elected member’s point of view let’s get something straight.
First, we at Unley have yet to determine our rates for next year even though the deadline for making a decision is fast approaching. Second we are not about profit taking we are about funding community services in a sustainable way.
Why have we yet to determine this years rates you may ask, particularly if what was reported by three separate federal members of parliament is true. You the public are being told by these ministers is the carbon tax will not impact next year on councils.
Here is the fact as I see it.
In our endeavours to find out if our budget will be impacted by the carbon tax we have received conflicting advice for many sources. This advice has the impact of being anywhere between 1.5% to 4.4%. This advice also is that the impact in the next financial year will be anywhere between 0.5% and 1.5%.
This information comes not only from the LGA but also from approaches to those suppliers of goods and services to us, none of whom has any real idea what to expect.
In this background we have to make a decision whether to factor it in and if so how much.
So out there in the media it is a case that how dare we use the carbon tax to justify increases. So while three ministers can claim councils should not factor in the carbon tax my understanding is the Federal Government had provided us with no information or direction.
Let those criticising us to take the responsability for getting it wrong. I ask will these MPs be prepared to provide a personal guarantee that we will not be impacted by the carbon tax.
I trust that when the time comes for me to cast MY vote that I will have more reliable information than which has been available thus far.
Now I would not want to be responsible for charging our ratepayers for something we do not have to pay out but I also would hate to be responsible for a shortfall in the coming year because I listened to the media and refused to “factor” in the carbon factor.
At the end of the day who has created this mess. Certainly not local government.
PS I will report further on this when a decision had been made.