Wasting Ratepayer's Money

Carlos Quaremba explains why councils should stay out of political activism as reports show councils putting money away in support of the Voice referendum.

Wasting Ratepayer's Money
Photo by Melissa Walker Horn / Unsplash

Across the country, Millions of Aussie families are struggling with a cost of living crisis. The cost of housing, electricity, food, and transport are all going through the roof. 

So are our rates and taxes - even though many think we are getting fewer and worse services even though we pay more. 

I’ve seen a lot of talk about council rates this week as local government delivers some of the highest rate rises on record. These come on top of spiralling mortgage costs crippling many household budgets.

In true, government can do what it wants fashion; even where rate rise caps are in place, special exemptions are granted. That’s delivered a 45% rise this year in Lithgow and a near doubling in rates over four years in Strathfield council.


In the privileged Adelaide council of Mitcham, the rate rises are more modest - close to 10% this year. That’s not welcome but it hasn’t caused anywhere near the outcry of another council decision.

This cash-strapped council has allocated 40K to support the Voice campaign. It was a decision made without reference to ratepayers or consultation with the community.

They’re not alone; Victoria’s Merri-Bek council is torching 20k on this losing campaign. Sydney’s Randwick Council allocated $28,900 for the Yes campaign, while the City of Sydney plans to blow over half a million dollars.

This is all on top of the millions spent by state and federal governments and corporate appeasers. 

It begs the question, how many other councils are in the same boat? Tossing your money into a racist and divisive proposal that deserves to fail.

Well, one local government official is having none of it and has put forward a motion to ensure his council sticks to roads, rates and rubbish rather than political activism.

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