Rate capping in SA ‘dead’ after Labor, SA Best, Greens oppose it

Upper house majority: The Greens' Mark Parnell, SA Best's Connie Bonaros and Labor's Tony Piccolo and Peter Malinauskas have joined forces to oppose council rate capping. Photo: Facebook/Connie Bonaros.
Upper house majority: The Greens' Mark Parnell, SA Best's Connie Bonaros and Labor's Tony Piccolo and Peter Malinauskas have joined forces to oppose council rate capping. Photo: Facebook/Connie Bonaros.

Rate capping is not likely to be introduced in South Australia after all, as a majority of MPs in the upper house of the state's parliament say they oppose the idea.

The Labor Opposition announced on August 30 that it would not support a cap on annual increases to council property rates, and SA Best and the Greens confirmed their opposition to the measure soon afterwards.

Between them, the three parties control 12 of 22 seats in SA's Legislative Council, enough to block the state government's proposed legislation.

Instead, they jointly proposed a series of alternative reforms for local government, including the appointment of a commissioner to watch over the sector, the introduction of performance benchmarks for all councils and a crackdown on expense spending.

Greens leader Mark Parnell said rate capping would have risked harming communities while doing nothing to improve accountability or transparency.

SA Best MP Connie Bonaros described it as a dud deal.

"Rate capping ... has led to the loss of services in the eastern states and will do the same here," she said.

"Councils need to be empowered and resourced to the needs of their local communities."

In response, Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government Minister Stephan Knoll said South Australians' household budgets would be wrecked if rate capping were not introduced.

"Capping council rates is the only way to guarantee we can keep council rates in check," he said.

"The Marshall government is putting ratepayers first."

Almost all councils across South Australia, including Murray Bridge, Mid Murray and the Coorong, had opposed rate capping.

But Mr Knoll said it had been supported by an "overwhelming majority" of South Australians.

Comments