Former Boorowa and Hilltops mayor and now Minister for Local Government Wendy Tuckerman has been credited with the decision to allow 86 NSW councils to increase their rates by more than the historic low of 0.7 per cent originally approved.
The increase will allow councils to maintain current service levels in the face of rising costs due to inflation.
Hilltops Council and more than 80 other NSW councils were this week given permission to raise rates by 2.5%.
Earlier this year IPART told councils they could only increase rates by 0.7 per cent.
Local Government NSW (LGNSW) President Darriea Turley said the special rate variations announced this week by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) acknowledged the dire financial situation created by its initial decision to cap rate rises at 0.7%.
"It is important to recognise that councils would have been held to this historic low rate cap without the intervention and insistence of Local Government Minister Wendy Tuckerman" Cr Turley said.
"Without this, many councils would have been forced to choose between cuts to jobs or roads maintenance, parks, libraries and other community infrastructure and services."
Cr Turley said this special rate variations announced today were still extremely modest, coming in at around half the current inflation rate and one third of the Reserve Bank's predictions of 7% inflation by December.
"Councils are the closest level of government to the community, and we know first-hand that individuals and local businesses in our communities are doing it tough.
"That's the very reason why we all agreed to share that burden and keep rate rises as low as possible.
"The simple fact that more than three-quarters of the state's councils were forced to seek a special rate variation shows the methodology used by the Tribunal to calculate the rate cap is irretrievably broken.
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