Crisafulli discusses how to increase sustainability
HE'S heard ratepayers say they would like to see more street sweepers or have more people filling pot holes, but Local Government Minister David Crisafulli has never heard anyone ask for more council workers filing paperwork.
Speaking from Townsville at the first ever regional round table to tackle local government financial challenges, Mr Crisafulli said sharing services to reduce paperwork and working together to increase buying power were two ways discussed to increase sustainability.
He said councils were experiencing the perfect storm as declining revenues, rising expenses and growing expectations placed mounting pressure on their bottom line.
Mr Crisafulli said councils must balance the traditional expectations of the community with modern economic reality.
He said the high attendance from mayors and CEOS showed financial sustainability had been the elephant in the room.
"Financial sustainability might be a bit of a buzz word but if you boil it down it's the ability for councils to remain viable and provide services people can afford," he said.
"One level of government calls them ratepayers and the other taxpayers but they are mums, dads and grandparents and they want to know they're getting value for money."
Mr Crisafulli said there would be concrete outcomes from the round table which everyone must follow through on.
He said he would likely have a list of things to take back to Cabinet while each council would have a bit of soul searching to do "around things that have been too hard basket for a long time".
"It doesn't matter if small bush council, a mid-sized coastal council or Brisbane, it's only the zeros that change. People are still facing the same challenges," he said.
"All councils ... are expected to do more with less and still provide the services and infrastructure ratepayers rightly deserve."
"We've got to look at ways councils can remain viable and keep costs down for ratepayers."
Mr Crisafulli said the round table would discuss how the state could reduce regulation, shared services between councils, public-private partnerships, depreciation costs and funding allocations.