News

Federal cuts may hit local pension discounts

PENSIONER discounts for rates could knock more than half a million dollars off the Clarence Valley's bottom line over the next four years if measures in the Federal Budget are passed.

A council spokesman said the council offered rates and water rates subsidies to pensioners partially covered by federal and state government grants.

The budget papers reveal the Federal Government will terminate its part of the agreement from July 1, 2014.

Council's corporate director Ashley Lindsay said the federal budget, if passed, would have an immediate and lasting impact on the finances of all councils, including the Clarence Valley.

He said the biggest impact was through the budget measure to pause annual increases for financial assistance grants, which have historically been indexed in line with the consumer price index and population growth.

He said that in 2013-14, the council received a total $10,240,000 in general purpose and roads grants from the Commonwealth Government.

"Based on the assumption of the CPI running at 2.5% a year from 2014-15 to 2017-18, the impact of this measure to pause the CPI indexation on the financial assistance grants will cost council about $1.063 million in reduced grant income over four years," he said.

He said another substantial impact on council's finances came from the Commonwealth's decision to remove a rate subsidy it provided pensioners and other concession card holders.

Council provides concession card holders with discounts on their general rates and on their water and sewer charges.

On general rates, that discount equals half the rate, up to a maximum of $250.

On water and sewer charges, it provides a 50% discount up to a maximum of $87.50 for each charge. Historically, the State Government funded 50% of that subsidy, with local government providing 45% and the Federal Government 5%.

Under changes announced in the Federal Budget, the Commonwealth will drop its contribution to rate subsidies to concession card holders, meaning the council will need to increase its contribution to 50%.

In 2014-15 that is estimated to cost the Clarence Valley Council $121,582.

Over four years, the council would be out of pocket $504,688. Mr Lindsay said the re-introduction of indexation of fuel excises would further impact on council's finances.

He said a one cent a litre increase in diesel prices would add $11,600 to council's costs and a similar price rise for E10 prices would add another $2900 to the fuel bill.

Member for Page Chris Gulaptis said the big issues for the states was the loss of $80 billion for health and education.

"To be truthful I haven't considered things like the pensioner concessions," he said.

"It's been the major line issues that we've been focused on."

Mr Gulaptis said all these issues will be thrashed out in party room meetings before next month's state budget.

Topics:  black budget, chris gulaptis, clarence valley council, federal budget 2014




DEX Sports quotes of the week

Australia's Zoe Buckman competes in the Women's 1500m heats, at Hampden Park during the XX Commonwealth Games, in Glasgow, Scotland, Monday, July 28, 2014. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY

"WHEN I first saw her I said this girl going to the Olympics"

From accounting to empowering people with the new age

Katie Gasson at the Psychic Channeling and Healing Festival at the South Grafton Ex-Servicemen's Club.

Katie Gasson talks about how she found the new age.

Latest deals and offers

WATCH: News reader tries her hand at hardcore shooter, Doom

Veteran journo and noob gamer takes a shot at Doom

What's on the small screen this week

MasterChef Australia's final four contestants, from left, Harry Foster, Elena Duggan, Elise Franciskovic and Matt Sinclair.

MASTERCHEF makes way for The Bachelor on Ten's reality TV slate.

Guy Sebastian a hit at Splendour in the Grass

Guy Sebastian performs at Splendour in the Grass with Paces.

REALITY TV judge a hit with festival crowd.

Superheroes of the big screen enjoy sounds of Splendour

CHRIS Hemsworth and his Avengers mates drop by Byron festival.

Indigenous artist shows tourists secrets of Aboriginal painting

Ever thought "I could do that" about Aboriginal art?

Dynamic pics from Splendour Day 1

The Strokes perform at Splendour in the Grass 2016. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

Check out the latest pictures from Splendour in the Grass.

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley

Massive residential 9-storey high-rise hit by delays

An artist’s impression of the eight-storey-high apartment complex that Bernoth Holdings wants to build in South Toowoomba, next to the City Golf Club.

Developer struggles to get approved high-rise development started