05/02/2020 | Stephan Knoll MP | Better Services | Lower Costs

A South Australian Productivity Commission (SAPC) report has found there is scope to reduce council rates for South Australian households and businesses and improve transparency.

The SAPC Inquiry into Local Government Costs and Efficiency also recommended all councils publish comparative information about costs and output levels of key services so the public can hold them to account.

The Marshall Government went to the election with a commitment to lower costs for South Australians and we are focussed on delivering that.

“The Productivity Commission’s report confirms there is a way forward to reduce council rates for South Australians households and businesses,” said Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government Stephan Knoll.

“The Report has nine recommendations to Government and ten pieces of advice for councils that the State Government will now work closely with the local government sector to progress.

“At the heart of these recommendations are ways to reduce costs and improve efficiencies that can be passed on to homeowners and businesses through lower bills.

“If ratepayers can compare and understand how different councils are performing with delivering key services and keeping their costs down, they can effectively engage with their councils on their most important decisions.

“Some councils are already engaging in benchmarking and the report highlights that the City of Charles Sturt, Marion and Port Adelaide and Enfield councils have already had positive results.

“The report notes that benchmarking has resulted in cost savings and capacity improvements of 11-22 per cent in these council areas.

“Last year the Labor Party blocked our plan to cap council rates and denied South Australians much needed financial relief on their council rates.

“That’s why this year we will be introducing new draft legislation into Parliament that will reform the local government sector.”

The State Government will formally respond to the SAPC’s report in the coming weeks.

The SAPC Inquiry into Local Government Costs and Efficiency, requested by Premier Marshall in May last year, had nine recommendations the Marshall Government will now progress with the local government sector, including;

  • Establishing a website that captures and publishes critical information about all councils to improve ratepayers’ engagement with their councils, and to support councils to find efficiencies in their own operations;
  • Supporting councils to improve their industrial relations capabilities to assist them to better manage rising employee costs;
  • Finding opportunities to improve regulations to reduce costs for residents and businesses;
  • Helping councils to improve procurement practices through access to State procurement opportunities and training; and,
  • Ensuring a more consistent approach to financial planning and accountability across all councils.