Imagine your every day without street lighting, rubbish collection, or the maintenance of pavements, roadways, street trees and verges. Imagine no playgrounds or local parks, libraries, sports club facilities, community halls or seniors’ services. What would life be like without food inspections at local restaurants, rescue of stray animals, or provision of volunteer support programs?
Each year council has to make important decisions about how to allocate rate payers funds to the vast range of programs and services it provides.
Councils are about more than roads and rubbish collection. They’re responsible for delivering hundreds of services and facilities that contribute to building strong and vibrant communities – everything from dog parks, footy ovals and libraries through to recycling, stormwater drainage, men’s sheds, footpaths and playgrounds. As part of these services, councils in South Australia look after about $22 billion of public assets.
All of these services and facilities rely on the rates collected from ratepayers within a council’s boundaries. Council rates are a form of taxation, and as the main source of funding for councils, they’re essential in enabling them to deliver all of the services and facilities that your community relies on. Council rates make up about 70% of the revenue received by councils. The remaining 30% is made up of government grants, user fees and other funding.
An average Australian household spends around $1200 per week. Council rates equate to around $25 per week or $3.50 per day for an average Australian household. And in return, ratepayers – as well as their families and friends – have access to hundreds of services and facilities.
Taxes collected by councils are only a fraction of the total taxes paid by Australians – less than 4% in fact. Meanwhile, the federal government collects approximately 80% of the taxes Australians pay, while state government collects about 16%.
Some of the tax revenue that is collected by federal, state and local government is shared or passed on between the different spheres of government. For example, councils receive Financial Assistance Grants from the federal government to support local communities and the state government supports councils through a range of grant programs. Some of the revenue collected by councils, such as the NRM levy, is required to be passed on to the state government.
Even with support from federal and state government, councils still only spend 4.5% of all taxes collected.
A snapshot of the services and facilities provided by South Australian councils includes:
│ street lighting │ arts and culture programs │bushfire prevention │ caravan parks │ cemeteries │ coastal care initiatives │ community buses │ community centres │ wetlands │ development and planning services │ dog and cat management │ disability services │ economic development initiatives │ environmental programs │ events │ footpath maintenance │ heritage activities │ immunisation clinics │ libraries │ museums │ roads │ men’s sheds │ footy and soccer ovals │ netball and tennis courts │ aged care services │ playgrounds │ public pools │ recycling facilities │ skate parks │ stormwater drains│
Councils do more than you realise.
We want you to have your say on how council allocates rate payers funds. Visit your local council website or contact your local councillor today.
Council Rates - Fact Sheets
- Council Rates - frequently asked questions(160 kb) - Frequently asked questions
- Council Rates Fact Sheet 1(1051 kb) - outlines a range of services which are funded by Council Rates
- Council Rates Fact Sheet 2(1027 kb) - outlines constraints, challenges and how services have expanded
- Council Rates Fact Sheet 4(1014 kb) - explains property valuations
- Council Rates Fact Sheet 5(1005 kb) - explains how property valuations are used in setting rates
- Council Rates Fact Sheet 6(1030 kb) - explains Council Rate rebates