Community feedback encouraged

COMMUNITY CONSULTATION: LGA SA's CEO Clinton Jury with LGA President Mayor Dean Johnson. Picture: LGA SA

South Australians are encouraged to get involved in shaping the future of their community as councils prepare to consult on their draft annual business plans for the coming financial year.

While public consultation dates vary from council to council, all residents are invited to share their thoughts on the planned projects, services and infrastructure investments in their area.

Local Government Association president mayor Dean Johnson said this was an important opportunity for residents to be active participants in local decision-making.

“Community engagement is an essential part of how all councils work in South Australia,” he said.

“At a local level, every resident gets the chance to have a say about how rates revenue is spent on projects and services – like parks and reserves, playgrounds, libraries and community centre programs and local infrastructure.

“Some of our suburbs are experiencing population growth and new residential developments while in other areas we’re seeing investments in new industries and major projects which create jobs and support the economy.

“By consulting, councils can ensure that future planning and infrastructure needs reflect the views of their community and local businesses.

“Major projects and investments in the budget need to be balanced with essential services like waste, road and footpaths upgrades and stormwater.

“Councils set their business plans and budgets in a very transparent and accountable way and that should provide residents with confidence their council is working to represent what matters to them.

“I encourage everyone to take the opportunity when consultation opens to put forward their views, including proposed rates for the coming financial year.

Councils will adopt their annual business plan between June 1 and August 15, prior to setting their rates for the year ahead.

Under the Local Government Act 1999 councils are required to consult with their communities on a draft annual business plan including proposed rates for the next financial year.

For residents facing financial hardship, councils offer flexible payment plans and options for deferring rates.

Eligible Senior Card holders with limited incomes can also ask about postponing a significant portion of their council rates.

Check your council’s website for key dates and how to get involved.