SA councils have welcomed the abolishment of ‘Rubble Royalties’.

The state’s latest budget has scrapped a requirement for councils to pay a tax (‘royalties’ of 55c per tonne) on any ‘extractive minerals’ including rubble, taken by Councils from any land.

“Today’s budget is a contradiction to the Government’s claims that they want to reduce council rates, and ease the cost of living,” Local Government Association of South Australia (LGA) President Sue Clearihan said this week.

“Removing ‘Rubble Royalties’ will save ratepayers around $1 million a year by lowering the cost of rural road construction, but we are still stuck with a $4.5 million increase in the Solid Waste Levy this year, and collecting the NRM Levy for the State.”

“Through these levies, as well as mandatory community housing rates rebates, the Government is adding millions of dollars of costs to councils each year – costs that ultimately have to be passed on to rate payers.”

“It’s disappointing that councils will be forced to continue charging their ratepayers fees that the State Government should be taking ownership of. This is especially disappointing coming from a government that wants to cap council rates.”

She said the royalties were essentially a tax on regional and remote councils maintaining safe roads.

Councillor Clearihan said that local government reform is a focus for the LGA, and the Association wants to partner with the State Government to further improve the performance of the sector. 

“With the budget showing little relief in costs to councils, it’s important that the State Government works alongside the LGA as we examine where we can improve our performance and deliver better value to our communities,” Councillor Clearihan said.

“We’ve proposed a comprehensive sector-wide benchmarking program that would not only improve transparency and accountability, but also allow councils to compare their performance and identify areas for improvement, and we will continue to advocate to the Government to invest in this local government reform and efficiency measure that will benefit communities.”