Council Calls on State to ease Cost Shift Burden

Published on 09 May 2024


Clarence Valley Council Mayor, Cr Peter Johnstone, has called on the Premier and the NSW Minister for Lands and Property, Stephen Kamper, to urgently address the unrelenting growth of cost shifting, and the impacts of the NSW Government’s newly proposed Interment Services Levy on regional councils.

Cr Johnstone said the proposed Interment Services Levy was scheduled for adoption over the coming weeks and would ultimately hit grieving families in the hip pocket, with the levy introducing the new charges of $14 per cremation, $63 per ash interment and $156 per burial effective from 1 July 2024.

“This is just another example of the NSW Government's cost shifting policies, and they know councils cannot absorb this levy into their current operational budgets, and they know we will have to pass these costs on to our communities who are already dealing with the impacts of the cost-of-living crisis.”

Cr Johnstone said he was surprised and disappointed that the government had also chosen to not proactively engage and discuss the proposed levy with councils, who would have to bear the administrative burden and absorb the costs of handling these new levy funds, which need to be audited and reported on annually.

“This will impact Council’s financial capacity to deliver grass roots services to their communities and that’s unacceptable, our communities deserve better, and they should not be expected to go without or pay for the administrative costs of an organisation which is already funded to regulate cemeteries.”

Cr Johnstone said unsurprisingly, the findings of a recent Local Government New South Wales report identified that $1.36 billion of expenses had been passed on to local councils to fund, which ultimately represented an average additional cost of more than $460 for every ratepayer across the state.

“And that is why I will continue to advocate at a local, regional, and state level for the government to introduce the regulatory and budgetary controls necessary to rectify the situation and prevent Council’s and their communities from having to absorb the impacts of these cost shifting polices and levies.”

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