The LGA has urged South Australian voters not to fall for rate capping when casting their vote on 17 March.
LGA President Lorraine Rosenberg said that in the long run, rate capping would cost South Australians more than it would save them.
“What this policy does is just pass the cost of renewing local infrastructure onto the next generation of ratepayers,” Mayor Rosenberg said.
“It’s been in place in NSW for almost forty years, and their councils have higher levels of debt, and larger infrastructure backlogs than their South Australian counterparts.”
“After just three years of rate capping in Victoria, councils are already being forced to defer or cancel planned infrastructure upgrades, reduce services and increase fees and charges.”
“The reality is that South Australia’s councils need to have sufficient revenue to fund the services and facilities that communities want and need, and responsibly manage more than $22 billion worth of public assets.”
South Australian councils already raise the lowest total annual revenue per capita in Australia - $1,329 compared to the national average of $1,662.
South Australian councils also collect the lowest fees and charges in the country.
“Councils collect less than 4% of the taxes that Australians pay, and the average increase in council rates this year across South Australia was just $44 per household – less than $1 a week,” Mayor Rosenberg said.
“This is despite pressure on council budgets from rapidly escalating power costs, and cost shifting from the State Government.”
“Rate capping is a lazy, populist policy that is designed to deflect attention from the real issues for our State, which any prospective government should be focussed on addressing.”
“Everyone wants to pay less tax, but I would urge South Australians to think about all of the great services their councils deliver, and what rate capping might mean in their community.”
“Decisions about funding for local projects should be made locally – not by politicians on North Terrace and unelected bureacrats who are not accountable to local communities.”