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



Why Australia Day must no longer be on January 26

Australian Flag.

Marking Jan 26 had always been about commemorating British arrival.

Australia Day: Things to do in the Clarence

UP THEY GO: The NSW, Australian and Aboriginal flags begin to rise on Australia Day.

Barbecues, billy carts and flag raisings

Local Partners

ALS stalwart calls it a day

The Aboriginal Legal Service has admitted it will struggle to fill the shoes of its Clarence Valley court liaison officer Avery Brown.


Festival director joins stars at Sundance

ACTION: Wendy Gibbs, director of the Bent Bridge Film Festival, before heading off to the Sundance Film Festival in the US.

Rubbing shoulders with celebrities at film festival

5 things to do this weekend

Lower Clarence Relay for Life Swim

Looking for something to do this weekend?

Puppetry of the Penis secrets revealed ahead of show

The famed Puppetry of the Penis is coming to the Sunshine Coast for shows in Noosa and Caloundra.

WARNING: This interview contains adult themes and traces of nuts

Ozzy Osbourne fell asleep during his driving test

Not a good idea to give Ozzy a Ferrari

Kristen Stewart to host SNL

Kristen Stewart will host a pre-Super Bowl episode of SNL next month

Louis Tomlinson celebrated his son's first birthday

Louis Tomlinson and Briana Jungwirth celebrate son's first birthday

Kylie Minogue will take husband's name

Kylie Minogue will take her fiancé Joshua Sasse's surname

Nicole reveals her biggest parenting challenges

Actress Nicole Kidman.

Nicole Kidman says her kids are ‘deeply attuned' to her moods.

Suicide Squad director reveals his regrets about the film

Margot Robbie in a scene from the movie Suicide Squad.

DIRECTOR of superhero flick on what he’d change about ‘flawed’ film.

Why investors are flocking to Moranbah

Moranbah homes are selling like hotcakes, creating a supply problem

Investors are scrambling to get into the market

Positive signs for Clarence Valley property market

Yamba had the most expensive units and houses over the year to October.

Yamba houses sell for median of $500,000 each

Age no barrier to buying your first home

Older first home buyers are an increasing segment of the housing market.

Older buyers are a growing segment of the first home buyer market

Thousands of jobs part of $1b retirement village project

THIS YEAR: An artist impression of the new Aveo retirement village in Springfield.

Aveo Springfield unveiled this month, homes ready by July

Rates safe from land value hike

DRIVING GROWTH: The Pacific Highway upgrade has been linked to improved land values.

Figures up in latest valuer-general report

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!