NSW Labor said the decision to approve mass rate hikes was rubbing salt into
the wounds of many communities that were subjected to the NSW
Government’s forced mergers policy.
The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal recently approved special
and minimum rate variation requests for 10 councils – eight of which were
subject to mergers in 2016/17.
The hardest hit were Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council and the City of
Canterbury-Bankstown Council, which had special rate variations of 53.5% over
five years and 36.34% over four years, approved respectively.
The other councils that had successful rate variations were Armidale Regional;
Bayside; Central Coast; Federation; Georges River; Inner West; Liverpool
Plains and Tweed Shire.
Mr Warren said the NSW Government and its botched forced mergers policy,
not the Councils, were to blame for the rate rises.
“The majority of the rate variations were made so Councils could keep their
heads above water,” he said.
“No Council wants to slug their community with large rate hikes.
“But for the majority of councils, this is the only way to get their community out
of a financial black hole.
“The merger of Cootamundra and Gundagai councils has been financially
crippling for those communities.
“Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council Mayor Abb McAlister is on record as
saying that only reason the rate hike was needed was due to the ‘terrible
financial situation’ the merger had put the council and community in.
“The is no doubt that the communities will point the finger at their Councils for
these rate rises, but in reality, the NSW Government is to blame.
“Council like Cootamundra-Gundagai have been backed into a corner by this
heartless state government and this is the result.
“The one thing that is crystal clear is that it is communities that continue to pay
a hefty price for this Government’s botched forced mergers policy.”
Click here to find out how your council is impacted.