16 Nov 2023

Member for Kiama and former Shoalhaven City Councillor Gareth Ward has slammed Shoalhaven City Council for its proposed 44% rate increase.

The proposal is contained in the papers for the Extra-Ordinary Meeting to be held on 20 November. The agenda can be found here: Agenda of Extra Ordinary Meeting - Monday, 20 November 2023 (

Mr Ward has started a petition against the proposal. The petition is available here.

“Having been a Councillor and serving as the Council’s Budget Committee Chairman, having served in government including as a Cabinet Minister, this proposal is the most outrageous and the least justifiable cash grab I have ever seen. This cash grab from the Greens/Labor Coalition is simply unacceptable in every way, shape, and form.

“I call on Fiona Phillips and Liza Butler to stand with me and condemn this proposal. Do they stand with residents who are suffering through the cost-of-living crisis, or do they stand with Labor and Green Councillors and their insatiable appetite for other people’s money.

“Shoalhaven residents simply can’t afford this. Not only will this be a huge burden on property owners, but this cost will also be passed onto renters which will hurt the most vulnerable.

“The Mayor talks a big game when it comes to addressing housing affordability but this outrageous 44% rate increase will push home ownership further away and make paying rent even harder forcing local families further into housing stress.

“Council wasted millions on its failed Bioelektra project. Why should residents hand over more hard-earned money to a council that doesn’t deserve one extra red cent?

“In every single way, this council has failed our local community.

“From its failure to manage its books, its failure to maintain our roads, it’s failure to deliver its planned waste contract which cost ratepayers millions, its failure to listen to residents who wanted the right to put lives and property ahead of dangerous trees, this 44% rate increase is yet another example of a council that is out of control,” Mr Ward concluded.