The debate on rate capping continues in the media, with the Property Council again taking the lead. They conducted a survey showing 85% of people agree with rate capping.
Oh Really? Who would have thought that? Honestly. You don’t have to be Mandrake to understand that 85% of people agree with rate capping. Who wouldn’t.
This of course was a limited and a very simplistic a survey however.
The question they should have asked is who is better placed to cap rates? Councils or a third party, namely ESCOSA.
The Bill before Parliament is not about rate capping. It is about shifting responsibility for setting rates from Council to a third party, another Government body.
Why not make Councils responsible for rate capping. In other words, it can be legislated. Just as other financial ratios Councils have to comply with are legislated.
Financial ratios such as:-
✔an operating surplus ratio.
✔a net financial liabilities ratio.
✔an asset renewal funding ratio or,
✔other rate related requirements.
Ratios as we are already required to do under sections 5(1), 6 & & of the Local Government (Financial Management) Regulations 2011.
The City of Unley voted against the Government’s Bill. This reads as we are against rate capping. Fact is we are not, as demonstrated by over the last 6 years.
We believe that setting your rate first and then cutting your cloth to suit is good policy.
Councils are better placed than a third party to do this. Using ESCOSA or other organisation to provide oversight to determine what the rate should be is on the contrary, bad policy.
It is bad policy because they do not have a relationship with you. They are also not accountable to you.
There is therefore no reason why the regulations could not be altered to achieve the government’s push for rate capping.
That is of course assuming their real intention is actually rate capping, not using rate capping as an excuse to control councils.