Ratepayers covering cost of state

TWEED ratepayers handed out an extra $3.2million towards state and federal government costs through council rates last year.

The figure has been revealed in a survey of 77 councils statewide by the Local Government and Shires Association which has stepped up a campaign against so-called government cost shifting.

The survey found that across NSW the cost-shifting bill amounted to $440 million for the 2008/09 financial year, accounting for 5.74 per cent of local government’s total income.

Tweed Shire Council’s bill for the costs of state and federal government responsibilities, mostly state, amounted to 2.79 per cent of its normal income.

However some councils, such as Wollongong and Bankstown in Sydney, paid more than 10 per cent.

President of the Shires Association, Cr Bruce Miller, said the survey demonstrated councils were delivering services which are state government responsibilities without receiving the matching funding.

“It’s the communities who suffer,” Cr Miller added. “Money lost as a result of cost-shifting is money taken away from services and infrastructure which local residents rely on – such as roads, senior citizen and youth services, community centres and parks.”



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