Cost Shifting Survey

Cost shifting describes a situation where the responsibility for, or merely the costs of, providing a certain service, concession, asset or regulatory function are 'shifted' from a higher level of government on to a lower level of government without providing corresponding funding or the conferral of corresponding and adequate revenue-raising capacity.

LGNSW tries to identify, quantify and combat cost shifting as it impacts member councils.

Survey Reports

LGNSW's Cost Shifting Survey is conducted annually and seeks to establish the extent of cost shifting by the Australian and NSW Governments on to NSW Local Government.

The following survey results support local government's argument for this practice to end:

Impact of Cost Shifting on local government in NSW: A Survey of Councils 2015-16 (PDF, 3.67MB)

Impact of cost shifting on local government in NSW 2018 (summary), (PDF 657KB)

The survey results confirm that cost shifting continues to place a significant burden on councils' financial situation. Despite the recognition of cost shifting and its adverse impacts on NSW local government, cost shifting remains at a high level (around 6 per cent of councils' total income before capital amounts).

Contributions to the Fire and Rescue NSW, NSW Rural Fire Services and NSW State Emergency Service, lack of adequate funding for public libraries and the failure to reimburse councils for mandatory pensioner rebates are major examples.

Furthermore, councils are not given sufficient financial resources for their responsibilities to assess development applications, regulate companion animals, manage contaminated land, control noxious weed, manage flood controls, or administer environmental regulation.

Previous reports