New rate peg will help maintain essential services

The new 2% rate peg for 2021-22 will help NSW councils maintain essential services to their communities, local government’s peak body said.

Local Government NSW (LGNSW) President Linda Scott was speaking after the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) handed down the maximum overall increase in ratings income for NSW councils, which will come into effect from the middle of next year.

“The 2021-22 rate peg is more than half-a-percentage point down on this year (2020), and will certainly go some way to helping local government continue to provide the services and maintain the infrastructure so critical to our communities right now,” Cr Scott said.

“It won’t allow local governments to mitigate against the additional costs incurred following extended drought, bushfires, floods and COVID.

“It’s tough right now for everyone. Of all levels of government, councils have the strongest grassroots perspective on the job losses and economic damage.

“No council in NSW is looking to increase rates beyond what is necessary – together, we are working incredibly hard to save jobs and stimulate local economies by investing in community infrastructure projects and community services.

“Councils are focused on driving a locally-led recovery.”

Cr Scott said LGNSW had long argued for tax reform in NSW.

“Now is the time we need to adopt new approaches to ensure we emerge from this dreadful period as a safer, stronger NSW,” she said.

“That’s why LGNSW continues to call for a broad look at widespread tax reform in NSW.

“And we’re not alone: the IPART recognised the need for greater ratings flexibility in its recent report on the NSW Rating System, and the NSW Productivity Commission sees a flexible rating system as the most efficient way of helping councils meet the risings expectations of their communities.”

Source: LGNSW