Blue Mountains News

Review of Local Government Election Costs

Source: Lithgow City Council
Posted: 20 Jul 2019
IPART is reviewing local government election costs and has recommended a significant increase in costs to Councils in their draft report.

Lithgow City Council has lodged a submission to IPART’s review of Local Government Election Costs. The submission details Council’s concerns with the impact on election costs from IPART’s draft recommendations as well as providing comments on IPART’s proposals for regulatory reform and to improve competition in the future.

“IPART’s recommended costing methodology indicates a 72% increase ($76,000) in elections costs for 2020 compared with 2016. An increase in this magnitude is simply unaffordable for Lithgow City Council”, said Lithgow Council Mayor Councillor Ray Thompson.

Councils have been subjected to increasing cost shifting from other levels of government. Based on a cost shifting survey, Local Government NSW has quantified cost shifting at $820 million per annum. Examples of cost shifting include:

  • 21% increase in the Emergency Services Levy (paid to the NSW Government) from 1 July 2019 without any consultation.
  • The NSW Government’s waste levy.
  • Shortfalls in public library funding and pensioner rate rebates.
  • The cost of managing regulatory burdens such as the operation of Independent Hearing Assessment Panels, enforcement of companion animal regulations, and the management of contaminated land, noxious weed and flood controls.
  • Transfer of costs and responsibilities for crown lands and crown roads.

Rate pegging has not kept up with the accelerated rate of cost shifting.

Councillor Thompson added, “at the same time as Councils being expected to bear more costs, the NSW Government has implemented its Fit for the Future reforms. Councils are expected to be fiscally responsible and to place a focus on managing / renewing their assets. To achieve these goals, Councils have been working hard to improve productivity, save costs and generate revenue to manage the impact of these reforms on services and programs. In Lithgow Council’s case, proposed services and programs were reduced for the 2019/20 year to deliver a “balanced operating result (before capital)” budget as required by the Office of Local Government.”

“With the increasing cost and budgetary pressures on Councils, IPART’s statement in the draft report that the impact on ratepayers will be relatively modest can be considered to be ignorant of the facts. It is certainly correct that the financial impact to ratepayers of an increase in election costs will be minimised by the rate peg. However, as is the case with other extraordinary cost increases and cost shifting, the impact on ratepayers is inevitably a reduction in the necessary services and programs which Councils are expected to provide”, said Councillor Thompson.

Lithgow City Council’s submission to IPART recommends that the increased cost to Councils of the 2020 elections be no more than the cumulative rate peg increase from 2016 which reflects Council’s revenue raising constraints. Lithgow City Council is supportive of IPART’s recommendation that the State Government implement regulatory reforms aimed at facilitating future competition for local government election services.

 
Karen Curran - The Heart of Us Karen Curran - The Heart of Us Karen Curran - The Heart of Us Holistic counsel for personal wellbeing

Recent News

Spencer - New Australian Comedy Drama Perfect for the Whole Family
Spencer - New Australian Comedy Drama Perfect for the Whole Family
There’s no such thing as fun for the whole family…
Daniel Thompson’s Johnny Cash Live Back to San Quentin – 50 Years On
Daniel Thompson’s Johnny Cash Live Back to San Quentin – 50 Years On
In 1969, off the back of the huge success of 1968’s At Folsom Prison album,...
Elevenses at The Joan Art + Music Insights
Elevenses at The Joan Art + Music Insights
The Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre and Penrith Regional Galler...
Declan Kelly Trio Album Launch at Wentworth Falls
Declan Kelly Trio Album Launch at Wentworth Falls
Music Hunter presents Declan Kelly Trio on Sat 24th August at Wentwort...
Walking Through History at Woodford Reserve
Walking Through History at Woodford Reserve
A new heritage trail at Woodford Reserve was launched on Saturday, thanks...

What's New

Mystery, Mayhem & Intrigue, and laughs!
Mystery, Mayhem & Intrigue, and laughs!
Entertainment Blue Mountains Hypno-Comedian Wayne Donnelly is appearing at le Salon Grand on Sat. 31st Aug. Tix for show only, and dinner & show.
Complimentary Dinner?
Complimentary Dinner?
Eagle View Escape Ask about our 'ditch your device' campaign. Willing to sacrifice your devices for the weekend?
Lindsay's Cafe: Winter in the Mountains
Lindsay's Cafe: Winter in the Mountains
Lindsay's Cafe Relax and explore Norman Lindsay's: Stop for breakfast or lunch at Faulconbridge. Air-conditioned in, delightful out
Lakeside B and B and Self Contained
Lakeside B and B and Self Contained
Blue Mountains Lakeside B&B & Self-contained Generous discounts on two night stays. Kayaks and fishing available.The Lake has a captivating Nature Walk.
***AUGUST SPECIAL OFFERS***
***AUGUST SPECIAL OFFERS***
Hills Havens SAVE $$$ when you BOOK 2 - 3 nights...see www.hillshavensleura.com.au for details and bookings.
Also in this Section

Have You Visited

Announcement
Joe Fiedler: Open Sesame | 31 AugustIconic Sesame Street tunes as you've never heard them before, brought to you by Joe Fiedler & his all-star jazz quintet.View The Blue Mountains Theatre and Community Hub »