Local democracy will be undermined and accountability to the community will diminish
Rate Capping was introduced by the Kennett Government in 1996. The Labor Shadow Minister for Local Government at that time, Pat Power MP said that the decision to cap rates is
…evidence of a complete lack of faith in the capacity of local government as an industry or in municipalities as sectors to manage their business. It is in absolute conflict with the notion of an elected tier of government having the right and the responsibility to structure its revenue base in a responsible and proper manner.
Removing the decision about rate increases from Councils removes the impetus for Councils to undertake proper community consultation.
- Rate capping prevents democratically elected Councillors from representing their constituents. Councillors are elected by and are accountable to the community. It should be the community who decides if rate increases are excessive or not, in return for the programs and services that they expect Council to deliver.
- Communities who wish their Councils to deliver better services should be able to do so without being hamstrung by another level of government.
- Reports from NSW suggest that “rate pegging” (as it is known in NSW) results in Councils being less accountable to their communities.