“Greedy Councils won’t return carbon cash”, reported the Courier Mail. Redland City Council is listed as one of these greedy councils. Why is it that some councils can act quickly to pass savings back to ratepayers but Redland City can’t, or won’t?
“…average families will be better off by $550 a year…”
When campaigning to become Prime Minister, Tony Abbot said that he would save Australian families $550 per year by removing the Carbon Tax. To be exact, the Coalition’s Policy to Scrap the Carbon Tax and Reduce the Cost of Living stated:
This means that under the Coalition, average families will be better off by more than $550 a year in 2014-15, rising to around $900 a year in 2019-20.
Well the Carbon Tax is gone and attention is now focused on the promised $550 per year savings. Part of this cost relief should come from local councils. If local council rates and charges were increased because of the carbon tax, and the carbon tax is repealed, then rates and charges should go down. You would think that this is pretty obvious but not all local councils seem to agree.
Some councils in south east Queensland have already advised their plans to return some money to ratepayers. Brisbane City Council promptly advised its ratepayers that they will each receive a $36.00 refund in October.
Why is Redlands City Council delaying Carbon Tax relief ?
Redland City Council is making news because it is unable or unwilling to explain its carbon tax refund plan. This is the reason why Redland City is adversely mentioned in the Courier Mail’s story: “Greedy Councils won’t return Carbon Cash”.
When the Carbon Tax was introduced in 2012, Mayor Williams said it would add $2.0 million to the City’s budget for 2012/13, according to the Bayside Bulletin. This amount included direct liabilities from landfill operations and additional costs passed on by suppliers for services like electricity.
When recently questions about the impact of the Carbon Tax’s removal, Mayor Williams’s statement to the Courier Mail (as published on the Council’s website) is that:
“Council has absorbed the majority of the carbon tax impost for the past two years. In our current budget we have absorbed the majority of an estimated $12 million in additional external costs, rather than pass the impost on to residents in the form of higher rates. We have delivered the smallest increase in headline rates of any comparable SEQ council, for the third successive year. Any savings from the repeal of the carbon tax will be passed on to residents by reinvestment in our city.”
When the spin is removed from her words, what this seems to mean is that Redland City is already running a huge operational deficit so ratepayers should not expect any carbon tax rebates or rate reductions anytime soon.
Mayor Williams recently advised the Redland City Bulletin that:
“It’s too early to know how much ratepayers will save because it depends on how much of the current costs suppliers will be required to pass back to council.
“But council will pass on savings through budget reviews over the coming year as the repeal of the tax is expected to reduce our costs.”
Clearly the costs of the carbon tax were factored into budgets. With the Cabon Tax finished, the the Council should return the carbon cash to ratepayers.
Does Redland City Council have a budget mess?
Council should have anticipated the repeal of the carbon tax when it framed the budget for this year. If it had done so it would have been able to respond quickly when the Carbon Tax was removed.
Redlands2030 has published concerns about Redland City’s Council’s budget and financial forecasts in three earlier stories:
It appears that Redland City’s budget and finances are not being properly managed. Again, we call for an independent review of the Redland City Council’s 2014/15 budget and long term financial forecasts.