Council demands NSW Government stop raiding its budget to fund State services

            Monday, 5 November 2018
Former mayors of the Inner West’s amalgamated councils have expressed their outrage after it has been revealed the NSW Government’s cost shifting strategy gouged millions of dollars from their former Councils’ budgets.

Cost shifting occurs when the State Government forces Councils to take responsibility and pay for infrastructure and other regulatory functions - such as fire and rescue services, pensioner rate rebates and waste levies - without providing enough funding to cover these services.

Research just released by Local Government NSW (LGNSW) shows that in 2015/16 the three amalgamated Councils of Ashfield, Marrickville and Leichhardt were some of the hardest hit financially in NSW.

Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne, who was also Mayor of the former Leichhardt Council, said that the Government’s cost shifting had forced an unwanted amalgamation on Inner West communities.

“This survey shows that in the same year Ashfield, Leichhardt and Marrickville Councils were being abolished, allegedly to create savings, the NSW Government shifted more than $18 million in costs on to our combined balance sheet.

“Now we know that the former Ashfield Council was being ripped off by the Government more than any Council in the state, with a whopping 17 per cent of its last budget being eaten up by cost shifting,” said Mayor Byrne.

“We didn’t need our Councils to be sacked; we just needed Gladys Berejiklian to get her hand out of our pockets.”

Some of the hardest-hit Councils in NSW include:

  • Ashfield Council [now Inner West Council] (17% of income)
  • Maitland City Council (16% of income)
  • Hunters Hill Council (15% of income)
  • Leichhardt Council [now Inner West Council] (8.9 % of income)
  • Marrickville Council [now Inner West Council] (6.3% of income)

Councillor Lucille McKenna, who was also Mayor of the former Ashfield Council, said the NSW Government’s cost shifting denied Ashfield ratepayers vital services and infrastructure programs.

“If the State Government hadn’t raided our budget’s bottom line over the years, much-needed projects such as the redevelopment of Ashfield Pool could have been undertaken much sooner.

“This kind of financial burglary places local government in a perilous financial position and undermines our ability to deliver the services and infrastructure our communities need,” she said.

For more information on LGNSW’s cost-shifting survey 2015/16, please click here.

For further information, please contact John Roper on 0435 963 787 or email john.roper@innerwest.nsw.gov.au.

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Page last updated: 14 Dec 2018