LGNSW Cost Shifting Report

01 March 2024

LGNSW Cost Shifting Report  - Post Image

The pressure on Councils to continue to provide services of appropriate standard to our communities is now extraordinary.

The unrelenting growth of cost shifting to Councils, coupled with rate pegging, is increasingly eroding any possibility of financially sustainable local government and risking the capacity of Councils to deliver tailored, grassroots services to their communities and properly deliver and maintain vital local infrastructure. 

Alarmingly, the latest research commissioned by LGNSW shows that the increase in cost shifting has been accelerated by various NSW State Government policies.

As shown in the latest cost shifting report produced by independent consultants Morrison Low on behalf of LGNSW for the 2021/2022 financial year (www.lgnsw.org.au/costshifting), an amount of $1.36 billion of expense has been passed on to Councils to fund. 

This is an increase of $540 million since the last report from the 2017/2018 financial year and represents lost services, lost opportunity and lost amenity for all our residents and businesses.

On average, this represents an additional cost of $460.67 for every ratepayer across the state, escalating to $590.80 for ratepayers in rural councils.

With Councils having to fund this ongoing subsidy for the NSW State Government each and every year it means our communities get less or go without. They go without better roads, they go without better parks, they go without important community services that only Councils provide, and they and their ratepayers are effectively paying hidden taxes to other levels of government.

It is believed that our community deserve better and this must stop. Prior to the most recent state election the then Minns Opposition wrote to LGNSW acknowledging that cost shifting had undermined the financial sustainability of the local government sector. 

Now in 2024, it is important to Councils and communities that the NSW State Government urgently seek to address cost shifting through a combination of regulatory reform, budgetary provision and appropriate funding.

As the NSW State Government’s foreshadowed 2024 review of the financial model for local government approaches, it is so important that these longstanding impacts on our financial sustainability are highlighted and resolved.

View a PDF of the LGNSW Cost Shifting Report

View a PDF of the Report Summary and Highlights

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