Upper house passes changes to NRM levy

Amendments in legislation have passed the upper house of State Parliament to remove the requirement for councils to collect the Natural Resources Management Levy on behalf of the government.

South Australian councils are legislatively required to collect the levy on behalf of the state government but the Local Government Association (LGA) has advocated strongly in recent years for the obligation on councils to collect the levy to be removed.

LGA president and Tumby Bay mayor Sam Telfer said local government is often criticised for rate increases they have no control over.

"There are administrative costs to councils in chasing payments, and in 2016 there was almost $700,000 owed to our sector in unpaid levies," he said.

"Additionally, many ratepayers mistake the levy for a local government tax and criticise councils for NRM increases they have no control over.

"Last week we moved one step closer towards removing this burden on councils, thanks to amendments to the Landscape South Australia Bill that passed through the upper house."

He said councils should not be forced to collect taxes for the state, and was pleased the amendments were secured to remove the requirement.

The bill will now need to return to the lower house before it can be passed into legislation.

"We are asking the government to support the changes and accept responsibility for collecting their own revenue," said Mr Telfer.

This story Upper house passes changes to NRM levy first appeared on Port Lincoln Times.