Collect your own tax

The Local Government Association of South Australia (LGA) is gearing up to launch its State Election Strategy at this month’s Annual General Meeting in Adelaide on 16 November.

High on their list of priorities is a request for all political parties to commit to collecting their own Natural Resources Management (NRM) Levy if they are successful in forming government at the March 2018 state election.

Councils are currently legislatively required to collect the NRM Levy on behalf of the State Government.

LGA President Lorraine Rosenberg said that councils shouldn’t be responsible for collecting this tax for another sphere of government.

“Many ratepayers mistake increases to the NRM Levy for increased council charges, because the levy is administered through their rates notices.

“While this revenue is included in the calculation of total revenue received by local government in South Australia, we do not have access to the funding. It is provided by councils directly to the State Government for State Government programs.

“There are also hidden administrative costs to councils collecting the levy, especially in relation to non-payment and rebates.

“Astoundingly, the SA Liberal Party are proposing to cap council rates increases while continuing to use these rates to collect a State Government tax.”

“We would be happy to work with the government of the day and State Parliament to look at opportunities for improving Natural Resources Management, but don’t want to see costs shifted to councils.”