Councils the focus of new website

Ratepayers, residents and the broader South Australian community will have access to unprecedented levels of information about their local council’s performance through a new Government-established website.

Minister for Planning and Local Government Vickie Chapman said Councils in Focus would help people to better understand what their council is spending money on, where that revenue comes from and how it benefits their community.

“Councils spend billions of dollars each year on a variety of services, including roads, transport, environment, recreation, economic development and libraries,” Minister Chapman said.

“This way, information on where the money comes from and where it goes will be available to the public for the first time through one simple, easy-to-access portal.

“It’ll be an invaluable resource to many South Australians and ensure a greater level of transparency and accountability in local government.”
Minister Chapman said information available to the public would include:

  • Details on rates individual councils charge, grants they receive and other sources of funding
  • Where councils spend money and how much
  • Each council’s financial position and performance.

Ratepayers will be able to see how their council has changed over a five-year period, compare their council to similar councils, and compare their council to the State average.

Importantly, the information can also be compared by a range of different measures, such as population, number of ratepayers, or kilometres of roads, so that comparisons are meaningful across councils, despite their size or nature.

Individual councils can also make comments about the information that relates to them, to include more context about the data. All the data will be pulled in from existing sources so it’s not diverting council resources.

“We’ve been working closely with both individual councils and the Local Government Association to develop these resources, so they best meet the needs of all involved,” Minister Chapman said.

“The Councils in Focus website implements a key recommendation of the South Australian Productivity Commission’s inquiry into Local Government costs and efficiency,” she said.

The Councils in Focus website can be found at https://councilsinfocus.sa.gov.au/