Free up all the money required to be green

How to Free Up money required to be Green

being green costs money - Raise funds for the Environment

Just like every Natural Disaster Movie.

When people discuss making things greener or more ecologically friendly, money is constantly mentioned. In almost every Hollywood movie involving a natural disaster, a highly respected scientist or expert will lay out a prediction; suggest some preventive measures to be taken now and then the government will say something about how their economy cannot afford to do what the smart person says.

The disasters occurs just how it was predicted and they all come together in the end and feel really bad about not implementing those preventive measures in the first place.

Don’t wait until environmental disaster happens

So I’m thinking, let’s bypass the disaster part of the movie and see if we can’t rollout a preventive measure to make my state more environmentally friendly that will reduce costs, not add to them.

The purpose of this post is to see if we can make NSW, Australia, a little greener and better by abolishing all local governments/shire councils.

This would involve absorbing those current local government responsibilities into the State Government functions.

Hopefully freeing up a lot of money and allowing NSW to start executing some costly green initiatives sooner.

Given that NSW local governments employ 48,000 people, I’m pretty sure roughly 48,000 people will now despise me and this post.

Absorb local governments into State Government Functions.

There are 537 local governments/shire councils in Australia and 128 in NSW.

Each local government has a massive overhead cost structure.   They all have an executive team, infrastructure department, corporate support department, planning department, and services department as a minimum.

In NSW, the ever increasing rates that people are expected to pay is being swallowed up by excessive overhead costs.   Home & Business Owners (Rates payers) are employing more than 48,000 people in local governments and NSW councils spend over $12 billion each year on infrastructure, facilities and services.

The NSW State Government employs more than 348,000 people and based on mid 2021 data, has revenue of over $120 billion and prior to Covid-19, used to run at a deficit of around $17 Billion.

Every year, all NSW local governments/shire councils spend countless hours developing and submitting annual business plans, budgets, and rate rise policies.

Shire councils are the only organisations in Australia that can obtain more money for their services regardless of whether the local, state, or federal economies are struggling.

Where have Local Governments been getting all their money?

They get a little funding from Federal and State Governments I believe but the majority of councils income comes from the rates they charge householders and businesses every year.

In terms of what they charge ratepayers, they are somewhat governed by the Independent and Regulatory Tribunal of NSW (IPART), which has establishes a rate peg for each council every year.

As an example, IPART has set a range from 0.7 percent to 5.0 percent for 2022-23.

Now, if a council wants to raise rates above what IPART considers appropriate via their rate peg, they must request for approval. Unfortunately, although there might be some indication somewhere, it’s hard to find an example of where IPART has ever denied a council’s application for increases beyond the rate peg, so a casual observer could potentially come to the conclusion that councils do pretty much whatever they want.

Stormwater, garbage collection, water, and sewerage rates are not included in the rate peg; therefore it’s difficult to imagine those expenses not increasing year after year.

Councils have the authority to select how to distribute the rate peg increase among different ratepayer groups, and I’m guessing again that local governments spend a lot of time figuring out how efficiently they can justify rising rates every year and I imagine it’s the NSW ratepayers paying for all that work as well.

Poor quality management and corruption in NSW local governments.

The majority council employees undoubtedly do their best to run each region, but sadly NSW has had a long history of corruption in local governments and the whole scenario involving councils and their inept administration exhausts and disheartens me.

How fast can we get rid of NSW local governments/shire councils

I’m now questioning why we need to have local councils in the first place and how much money the state’s population would save if all councils were dissolved.

I that did happen, as a very rough guess, I’m thinking to keep the all areas of NSW still running effectively we might only need to boost the employees of the state government by 24,000, which is half of the current local government employee count.

I’m only spit-balling here but heck, maybe there wouldn’t be any need for hardly any executives or senior management roles in the mix as the State organisation chart might already have those roles covered.

The 24,000 workers the State then picks up to run the council areas would be all ‘worker bees’.

These new NSW State ‘workers bees’ could still be based in the local areas if necessary but I imagine some of these positions could be managed remotely by Sydney residents.

What will we do with all the extra money once we get rid of Shire Councils?

The interesting part now for me is that the money involved with 24,000 higher-level incomes that we’ve freed up might now be returned to the people of the state through a rate cut.

Every year, this could help by:

1.     Putting more money in people’s pockets, it would provide a small financial boost for small businesses and help people to better endure these tough times.

2.    Putting aside some money for green initiatives.

Standardise and Simplify how each local area is managed

The state government might then create a standard specification for how a local area should be handled in terms of waste, sewerage, and water management, construction, development, rezoning, and planning, rates and other charges, responsible pet ownership, pet registration, and pound management etc.

We could have a simple set of formulas and regulations that would apply uniformly across the entire state. After a few years, there should be less hours involved in managing all of this, thus there may be a chance to lower state government staff numbers again at a later period.

Develop a NSW standard for Green initiatives.

The thing that excites me the most though, is that for any of the environmentally sensitive aspects of local area management, like waste management, the state standard could be to have physical, chemical and other forms of recycling locked down and be a very good opportunity to move away for landfills.

If waste water management and water recycling technology in each location could be harmonised, we may have a lot more water available for agriculture and other uses.

As long as we can generate enough electricity to have a state full of people driving electric cars one day, the state might develop a guideline for how many charging stations each area must have based on population and what each area could or should be doing to save energy/reduce consumption.

It would not matter what area of NSW you lived in, the same green initiatives would be in place, no matter what the category was.

I don’t know about you folks but the idea of all this puts a smile on my face!

 

Is this something your country or State should/could consider?

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