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Singleton mayor calls out NSW Government over cost shifting issues

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Singleton mayor Sue Moore is seeking a commitment from the NSW Government to address issues surrounding cost shifting.

In fact, she plans to write to NSW Premier Chris Minns, Treasurer Daniel Mookhey and Minister for Local Government Ron Hoenig, requesting they work in partnership with the local government sector.

Cost shifting arises when the state government forces councils to assume responsibility for infrastructure, services and regulatory functions without sufficient supporting funding.

Cr Moore said alarming new research, commissioned by Local Government NSW (LGNSW), revealed the increase of cost shifting had accelerated up to 78% in just over five years, equating to $460 per ratepayer annually*.

“This is one of the most significant problems faced by councils in NSW, undermining the financial sustainability of the entire sector,” she explained.

“The pressure on us to continue to provide services of appropriate standards to our communities is extraordinary.

“The unrelenting growth of cost shifting to councils, coupled with rate pegging, is increasingly eroding any possibility of financial stability in local government and risking our capacity to deliver tailored, grassroots services as well as maintain deliver vital local infrastructure.

“With councils having to fund ongoing subsidies for the state government, it means our community either gets less or goes without.

“It cannot be overstated how seriously Singleton Council takes our responsibility to sustainable financial management.

“But, cost shifting by the state government seriously undermines our proactive approach to ensure our long-term financial viability while still delivering the infrastructure, programs and services our community has come to expect and deserves as we continue to deliver on our vision to ‘create community’.”

Cr Moore said she would call on the Minns government to reaffirm its pre-election commitments to ensure that the issue was addressed through a combination of regulatory reform, budgetary provision and appropriate funding. 

“While reforms in rate pegging methodology and the forthcoming review into the Emergency Services Levy to no longer be imposed on NSW councils or insurance policies in line with every other Australian state goes a long way, it’s still not enough,” she stated.

“Significant reforms are required, and addressing this longstanding matter demonstrates a commitment from the government to work in partnership with councils like Singleton for the benefit of the communities we serve.”

* The latest cost shifting report produced by independent consultants Morrison Low on behalf of LGNSW shows that the burden is now valued at more than $1.36 billion per year. Full report at lgnsw.org.au/costshifting 

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