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Council calls out NSW Government cost shifting

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Clarence Valley Council will call on the Minns NSW Government to implement regulatory reform and budgetary funding provisions to address $1.36 billion of cost-shifting the state government expected councils to fund in the 2021-2022 financial year, a figure that is increasing yearly.

At the February 27 council meeting, Cr Peter Johnstone put forward a Mayoral Minute based around a cost-shifting report produced for Local Government NSW by independent consultants Morrison Low showing that for the 2021-2022 financial year, an amount of $1.36 billion had been passed on by the state government for councils to fund – representing an additional cost to councils of $460.67 per ratepayer.

Based on the 2021 Census population figures for the Clarence Valley Local Government Area LGA of 54,115, this equates to $24,929,157.05 cost-shifted onto Clarence Valley Council CVC ratepayers in the 2021-2022 financial year.

Cr Johnstone’s Mayoral Minute was that council:

  1. Receive and note the findings of the LGNSW Cost Shifting report for the 2021/2022 financial year.
  2. A copy of the cost shifting report be placed on Council’s website so that our communities can access it.
  3. write to the Premier, the NSW Treasurer and the NSW Minister for Local Government urgently seeking these costs be addressed through a combination of regulatory reform, budgetary provision and appropriate funding by the State.

Cr Johnstone highlighted the considerable amount of money council had spent upgrading Armidale Road in preparation for its transfer to state government control, which the NSW government has currently refused to take control of.

Cr Bill Day said he spoke against the Mayoral Minute “In order to highlight the hypocrisy of claiming how desperately short of funding Clarence Valley Council is, while still indulging in extravagant expenditure of ratepayers money.”

“Meanwhile many of our ratepayers and renters are screaming with the pain of the cost-of-living impacts on their lives, some local people are homeless, and the number is growing,” he said.

“I will vote for this motion; I just ask that all councillors bear in mind our financial position as you vote on other issues today.”

Cr Karen Toms spoke for the motion stating she thought it was very important to support this Mayoral Minute to support Cr Darria Turley, the President of Local Government NSW, and join the 128 councils supporting because cost shifting by the NSW government has been going on for many years and it costs ratepayers and councils millions of dollars a year.

Cr Toms said it was important to support the motion as the state government are trying to pass on the depreciation of the Rural Fire Service “red fleet” assets to councils, assets councils don’t own.

Cr Ian Tiley encouraged all councillors to support the motion as cost shifting by the state government had been happening for a very long time and it was increasing.

The motion was passed unanimously. 

Clarence Valley Independent 6 March 2024

This article appeared in the Clarence Valley Independent, 6 March 2024.

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