The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal’s (IPART) draft report on the revenue framework for local government has echoed the sectors call for New South Wales councils to assume greater responsibility for negotiating long term financial plans with their communities.
The Local Government and Shires Associations have welcomed the release of the report, which closely reflected submissions from councils across the state.
Local Government Association president Genia McCaffery said the report reiterated what local councils had long been campaigning for.
“The rate pegging system NSW councils have been forced to labour under may be politically expedient for the State Government, but it’s not doing our councils or our communities any favours,” Cr McCaffery said.
“We whole-heartedly support a system that would allow councils – those that can demonstrate a good financial record – to put in place medium term financial plans that have the support of their communities.”
Shires Association president Bruce Miller said rate pegging had created a culture of uncertainty about the future for local government.
“Of course this has made councils reluctant to commit to larger scale, long term projects,” he said.
“The draft proposal provides scope for councils to consult with their community and proceed with medium term funding plans that have their support.
“It credits us and our communities with the maturity to manage our own financial position.”
Cr Miller called on Premier Rees to act on the final review.
“Premier Rees has indicated his willingness to review the system – from the early indications of this review he will soon have an independent review giving him the means to do so,” he said.
“Even the NSW Treasury’s submission also supported removal of rate pegging.”
The LGSA will be providing detailed feedback to IPART on the draft report before the closing date of September 18.