Shoalhaven Cr Andrew Guile accuses council 'elites' for hiking rates

ACCUSED OF ELITISM: Ward 3 Greens councillor Kaye Gartner, left, has been accused by Cr Andrew Guile of failing to understand how rates increases will be passed on to tenants.
ACCUSED OF ELITISM: Ward 3 Greens councillor Kaye Gartner, left, has been accused by Cr Andrew Guile of failing to understand how rates increases will be passed on to tenants.

The new council honeymoon appears to over, with Shoalhaven Independent councillor Andrew Guile launching a Trump-style attack on what he called council “elites” who have backed the proposed rates increase.

"Greens and Gash councillors who have voted to support massive rate increases over coming years have completely lost touch with the Shoalhaven community," he said.

Cr Guile led the bid to overturn the IPART application at last night's extraordinary meeting of Shoalhaven City Council.

"We now have our own collection of 'elites' in council,” he said. “Councillors who want to build cultural centres and establish climate change talkfest committees while they slug our residents to pay for it all.”

He accused supporters of the rates proposal of underestimating the true cost of the flagged increases.

"Residents should grab a rates notice and do the math for themselves.  By the end of this term of council rates will be either 28 per cent, 34 per cent or 61 per cent (after seven years) higher in real dollars according to the scenarios endorsed last night,” he said. 

“We are talking several hundred dollars for many households and that's before we add in waste, water and sewerage charge which will also be expected to increase.”

He singled out two Greens councillors who spoke in favour of the rates increase for particular criticism.

"Councillor Gartner, who runs a business in Mosman on Sydney's lower north shore, argued that 25 per cent of Shoalhaven housing stock is owned by non-residential ratepayers who could claim the increased rates as a tax deduction. There was no understanding that these costs might actually be passed on by landlords to renters who could least afford the increases,” he said.

"Councillor Cheyne spoke about funding new pathways, cycleways and a cultural centre while admitting that there were many who could not afford the increases who would need to turn to the 'hardship' policy which is just a debt collection process.”