Rate capping already having an impact

The state government’s proposed council rate capping legislation looks like it will have an immediate affect on Lower Eyre Peninsula Council ratepayers this year.

The council is proposing a rate increase of 6.55 per cent for the next year so it can “future proof” itself somewhat from any rate capping the state government imposes.

Last month the Port Lincoln City Council also raised its concerns about the affect rate capping could have on its ratepayers in the future.

While it decided not to put up rates ‘just in case’ mayor Bruce Green said the rate capping legislation would have influence on what the council could achieve.

The Lower Eyre Peninsula District Council covers a large chunk of Lower Eyre and a bit further up, and has a massive network of roads to maintain within that area, as well as the townships within its boundaries.

And, rightly, it ratepayers expect their roads and other infrastructure to be maintained to an acceptable standard.

The ratepayers also expect to see new work and improvements to roads and other infrastructure.

But, it seems the Lower Eyre council at least will struggle to do that if the rate capping legislation becomes law across the state.

The Liberal Party, and now state government, made rate capping one of its major policies in this year’s election campaign.

The State Local Government Association and other parties put up fierce opposition to the rate capping policy and it was seen as populist by many commentators, but never the less the Liberal party was elected and it would seem it has a mandate to go ahead with it.

Unfortunately for a large number of ratepayers, there appears to be some short-term pain ahead as councils get in ahead of any changes to sure up their finances – especially for those in the Lower Eyre Peninsula Council District.

The government has yet to negotiate the policy into legislation and if it does it may ultimately save ratepayers some money, but it would appear we may be in for some pain before that takes place.

And while ratepayers don’t get a say on the Liberal party legislation, they do get a say on their local council’s rate rise –  that is what public consultation is all about.