John Darley, Advance SA MLC (5AA 10.17-10.19) Local Government reform
(Byner: John Darley, if you were modelling a reform of Local Government ... what would you do?)
Well I’ve just jotted down quickly five points. First of all councils should be responsible for providing value for money on all services provided and as such councillors acting as a council must be responsible for all council expenditure including all council staff salaries. Secondly, I do agree with rate capping but I don’t agree with the Government’s model ... councils should adopt a zero based budgeting principle when preparing their budgets ... what that means they start from a zero base and then they budget for the things that they’re going to do in that particular year; they do not just take last year’s budget and add an amount to it ... I would then also suggest that ESCOSA would be responsible for setting the index, whether it’s based on CPI or the Local Government CPI or whatever.
(Byner: Yeah see Labor say they don’t want an un-elected bureaucracy to be making those decisions and yet they do it for water, apparently it’s okay for water.)
Exactly and it works okay. Then ... you then apply the ESCOSA based CPI to the revised zero based budget and councils are also entitled to natural growth from new developments within the council. Thirdly, council ... debt levels and debt ratios should be monitored by the Auditor-General. Fourthly, asset valuations used for depreciation purposes should also be monitored by the Auditor-General ... finally, amalgamation of councils should only occur where a council becomes non-viable.
(Byner: All right. John, thank you. Well, if you as a ratepayer, because you fund all this, if you could think of a reform in Local Government that you think would be much better for the community tell us.)