RATEPAYERS are fed up with the state government’s proclivity to pass the buck, and the bill, to local councils.
Inverell is one of the hardest hit councils in the state.
Cost-shifting put a financial burden of $2.5 million on the rural council from 2015 to 2016, a Local Government NSW [LGNSW] report reveals.
“We seem to be the whipping boy of all state governments no matter what political breed they are,” Inverell Shire Council mayor Paul Harmon said.
“It’s frustrating when the public don’t understand why your hands are tied to provide the level of service they expect because you don’t have the funds.”
The biggest pull on the purse strings for rural councils comes from the Emergency Services Levy, library funding, the Companion Animals Act, Waste Levy and pensioner rebates.
Roads and major highways previously maintenanced by the state government have become a problem for councils.
And it’s not just an issue for Inverell, Tamworth Regional Council mayor Col Murray said at least 10 per cent of its revenue goes to the DA application process dictated by the state.
Not only does cost-shifting continue to grow, but it is happening at a faster rate.
Just two per cent of costs are pushed onto local councils by the federal government, while a whopping 98 per cent is dumped by the state government.
“Council is not able to deliver the services the community believe should be, the implications for the way the regulation is handed down is tough,” Cr Murray said.
“When it’s imposed by another level of government without discussion with the people to pay it’s not a democratic way to do business.”
LGNSW calls on the state government to end cost-shifting immediately, return 100 per cent of the waste levy income to councils and reimburse councils for mandatory pensioner rebates.
Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson said he was happy to discuss the issue further with local councils.