Labor warned us a day ago. They confirmed today that they would join the cross benches and vote the Government’s bill down. Externally imposed rate capping is dead as a result.
The fact of the matter is, the Government’s Rate Oversight Bill is doomed. As I have explained before the Government’s bill was not so much about rate capping as it was about an external body setting a cap on council rates.
This is good news for the local government industry. With due respect to ESCOSA, the body earmarked to be the oversee-er, you (the local community) are the best overseer there can be in keeping rates down.
Good news in that the government has never been clear on what how the rates should be capped. We were led to believe by the CPI.
By doing so we were told the average rates would come down $ 500.00 . That claim by Minister Knoll was probably the trigger for the bill’s failure.
If this were true, with 26,000 rate payers, the City of Unley revenue of some $ 40m would reduce by $ 13m. An extravagant claim by the Government. That Councils are so extravagant they can reduce their rate based revenue by a third. I defy anyone to shave $ 13m of the Unley budget and honestly believe that the Council would survive.
The bill is yet to be voted down in the Parliament however. Until the fat lady sings as it were.
All that aside, it is comforting to hear that the opposition appears to be heeding the call of our Local Government Association’s assessment of how the sector CAN be reformed. The sector can do with reforming. The Government could do well to jump on board and grab the agenda back.