Dump almost $1m bill on ratepayers plan

CANTERBURY Bankstown Council will have to fork out almost $1m under a proposal which would see it pay for the running of local government elections.

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) is seeking feedback on its recommended changes to what councils pay for in local government election services provided by the NSW Electoral Commission (NSWEC).
IPART is recommending that for the 2020 elections, councils, rather than NSW taxpayers, pay the full efficient costs of the election services they receive.
Mayor Khal Asfour said the cost of such a decision would be significant for ratepayers, including in Canterbury-Bankstown.
“It would be an extra $900,000 for our City,” he said.
“This is not a cost councils can simply meet, particularly when the NSW and Federal Governments are reducing funding to councils, yet requiring them to do more of their work.”
IPART suggests the move should be introduced in time for the 2020 local government elections.
“It’s just another case of cost shifting,” Mayor Asfour said.
“On top of that, IPART is suggesting the cost of the NSW Electoral Commission holding elections for councils, be passed onto ratepayers in full and yet also acknowledges there are barriers preventing private companies from providing the service.
“We believe the Government should defer passing on the increase until at least 2024, when IPART is indicating the NSW Electoral Commission will no longer have a monopoly.”
IPART Chair Dr Paul Paterson said the introduction of cost-reflective pricing would change the allocation of costs between councils to better reflect the actual costs of providing services, and encourage greater competition in the provision of election services.
“We are proposing a pricing approach and other measures that are aimed at enhancing the scope for competition in the supply of election services which over time, has the potential to increase innovation, provide councils with more choice and reduce costs,” he said.