Councillor Don Palmer Providing Local Leadership & Working for You

Following on my first two blog posts on this topic I again challenge the concept of why the media has a fixation on our rates should be aligned to CPI.

The capacity to pay the rates is the substantiation that the media promote for keeping them aligned to CPI.

Forgetting my argument about what services to keep and what to get rid of, what new services to provide and what not; all of which I believe is the most important part of ensuring we area sustainable, let us examine what the capacity to pay is.

Yes, I absolutely agree our ratepayers must have the capacity to pay and if they don’t this too is unsustainable. I ask therefore what is capacity to pay and how can it be measured.

As I indicated in my first post on this subject CPI is not a measure of capacity to pay. It is a measure of what a package of goods and services have cost the community in the last 12 months.

What the true measure of your ability to pay is what has happened to your pay packet or your pension.

CPI has risen according to my information 31.3% in the last 10 years. In that time wages rose 43.6%. So in spite of the media’s take that we are finding it harder to make ends meet and are in a worse position than the past, these figures indicate that we are in fact better off. That basket of goods and services from my first blog post on this subject is taking less of our pay at that rate.

But what about those on pensions, they are doing it tough. My research indicates that pensions have risen 57% in that time. This suggests pensioners are significantly better off notwithstanding what we all may have felt.

The recent article of course will show that rates generally have exceeded even these increases. Thankfully Unley is one that has risen the least in that time, up 55.2%. Our rates therefore have risen 11.6% more than wages in that time but less than pensions by 1.8%.

Keeping rates within the capacity to pay is a challenge and truly, I think we have done reasonably well.

I trust our rate payers appreciate that whatever our rate levels have been that they have been provided value in that the community has benefited in a tangible way with improved infrastructure and worthy and valuable services that all go to an improved living environment here in Unley.