The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) will undertake a review of local council’s revenues for the first time in 31 years.
Announcing the plan, NSW local government minister Paul Lynch said the IPART would investigate and make recommendations on local government revenue.
“A review is overdue and IPART is the appropriate body to undertake that review,” Mr Lynch said.
As part of the State Government’s rate-pegging initiatives, the review will examine whether IPART should intervene to fix rates and charges in the future.
He said: “New South Wales ratepayers have been served well by the system of rate-pegging for the past 31 years.
“Rate-pegging protects families from uncontrolled council rates by capping rates at a level set every year.”
The focuses of the review will entail the financial impact of rates and charges on families and pensioners, local government’s role in delivering services to the community, the financial position of local government, revenue sources, and differences between metropolitan, regional and rural councils.
An issues paper will be prepared for public comment, with a draft report to be provided to the Government within 12 months
In response to the announcement, Local Government said while the review is a welcoming acknowledgement of the financial challenges that councils are facing, rate pegging should be considered in terms of reference.
President of the Local Government Association of NSW Cr Genia McCaffery said: “NSW is the only State in Australia that has rate pegging, and it is well known it is preventing councils from providing the services and facilities our communities need – so in a genuine review it would feature heavily."
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