The NSW local government peak has expressed concerns about the risk of “over-simplification” following the government’s announcement of a new website that allows ratepayers across the state to compare their council with others.
The interactive Your Council website will allow ratepayers across the state to compare local council services and see how their council fares compared to others.
It provides statistics on operations of the state’s 128 local councils, along with a profile of the local community, drawing on data collected by the Office of Local Government from councils’ annual reports.
LGNSW President Linda says comparison websites can sometimes “oversimplify things and fail to take into account environmental differences and other factors”.
But she says anything that increases transperancy in local government is a good thing and describes the website as a helpful overall tool.
“Local Government NSW always welcomes transparency in local government,” she said in a statement.
“The Your Council website will make existing publicly available data about local governments easier to access.
“What a website like Your Council does highlight through the data presented is the ongoing challenge for local governments, with councils managing 33 per cent of the nation’s infrastructure with just three per cent of total public sector tax receipts,” she added.
Drilling down into how councils serve the community
Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock says the website demonstrates the size and scale of the state’s local government sector.
“Not only can residents learn about the work of our state’s councils as a whole, they can also drill down and find out more about their local council and how it is serving their community,” she said in a statement.
Data on the website is benchmarked against the average for similar councils, allowing ratepayers to compare how their council is doing relative to other local councils.
The Your Council website will be updated annually, with the Office of Local Government continuing to work with local councils to improve the website, Ms Hancock said.
The website would help inform the development of Performance Measurement Framework for NSW councils, she said.
A spokesman told Government News that OLG is set to re-commence consultation with the local government sector on the development of the framework, which builds on other reforms including as the extension of the mandate of the Auditor General to cover NSW local government.
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