IPART rate call blasted by RAMROC

UPSET: Riverina and Murray Regional Organisation of Councils chairman Terry Hogan has blasted the 1.8 per cent rate rise for councils next financial year.

THE Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal’s decision to cap NSW council rate increases by only 1.8 per cent next financial year has been slammed by one of the region’s most senior local government figures.

Former Jerilderie Shire mayor andRiverina and Murray Regional Organisation of Councils chairman TerryHogan said the figure wasludicrous andbased on flawed methodology.

He said thedecision would continueto tear away at the financial fabric of councils at a time when some were heading for mergers.

Albury Council rates have risen2.4 per cent this financial year.

“Forthe past 38 years state governments of all political persuasions have implemented rate pegging,which is nothing more than an ongoing political ploy, because state governments over time havesimply wanted to gain favour with the general public,” Cr Hogan said.

“In reality, what rate pegging has achieved over those 38 years is to erode the revenue base of councils.

“On the other hand, state taxes over that same time have increased exponentially.

“When the GSTwas introduced in 2000, it was specifically designed to phase out a number of state taxes, dutiesand levies, including stamp duty.

“Of course, these taxes have never been fully phased out.”

Cr Hogan said smaller councils had little chance of being “Fit for the Future” if they could only raise rates by 1.8 per cent.

The decision also didn’t factor infederal government-imposed freeze on the indexation of financial assistance grants.

“Unfortunately, the IPART methodology does not even take these revenue shortfalls into account,” he said.

Cr Hogan said a mid-sized council in the region would only yield an additional $78,000 in general rate income from a1.8 per cent increase.

Albury mayor Henk van de Ven said his council would accept the decision.

“If there is any other in budgetary and wage increases above this figure across the whole of government is when I would get upset,” he said.

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