Mark Nielsen 4 Council

Why are we paying inflated Council rates?

Vote for Mark Nielsen a voice for the People

What I see are the big issues for Pimpala Ward and the whole of Onkaparinga

During the 2022 South Australian Council Elections, the City of Onkaparinga held $95M of debt and forecast a rate increase of 4.7%.

" Based on the 2023–24 budget, and incorporating likely capital project carry forwards from 2022–23, the forecast debt position is now $134.9M "

The 2023-24 budget adopted a rate increase of 7.9%

Is This What You Voted For?

I want your vote so I can hold the Council accountable, to move motions and to vote in agenda items to restore sanity and bring back sensible financial management.

We are in the middle of a cost of living crisis.   We must act to bring the council back from the brink of insolvency and bankruptcy.

One Councillor represents just one vote out of twelve, so if an agenda is unpopular it will never get past the starting gate.   But how could rate reductions ever be UNPOPULAR you ask?   Who WOULDN’T vote for rate reductions?

There is a clear disconnect between what rate payers want and what council wants.

Who or what is the council serving?

The people need to make themselves known directly to their Councillors and tell council through their elected representatives that this has to stop otherwise they will be voted out at the next election.

There are over 856 employees in the City of Onkaparinga.   Annual salaries amount to $78 million a year.   Does anyone know what these people do for the community?

856 people do not even fit inside the council office complex on Ramsay Walk Noarlunga Centre.   They are spread over possibly hundreds of different locations across the metropolitan area, NOT EVEN LOCAL.  So what loyalty do these people have to the residents and rate payers of Onkaparinga?

The Mayor is paid $109,452 per annum and 136 other employees get paid an equivalent or considerably more including the Chief Executive Officer who receives $304,500 per year.

Many of the big budget council projects ought to be funded by the State or Federal Government, not by rate payers.  These projects need to be handed back to government, where they belong.

The ‘Council advice 2023-24’ report of 28/2/2024 from the Essential Services Commission of SA (ECOSA) said that Onkaparinga’s financial position was potentially unsustainable.   They made a host of inconsequential recommendations, but they still approved annual rate increases of 2.7% for the next 10 years!

I don’t want any rate increases. I want to see drastic slashing of expenditure on low benefit projects which will result in SLASHING OF RATES.

What I think needs to be done for Onkaparinga

A return of focus to the basics of Rates, Rubbish, Roads, Recreation and Rapid Response times– with a council dedicated to serving the interests of the people.

Councils have to get back to their traditional role of Council focusing on issues close to home including good management of Council property, road repairs and good management of sports clubs, libraries and community groups that support a family oriented society.

For those of us who are parents and grandparents I hope we can agree that children benefit greatly from playing outdoors not spending countless hours on computers. Councils should be providing community area for families to use and children to play, supporting them to get into the sunshine and onto the sports fields paying with the rest of the kids.

What I think needs to be done for Pimpala Ward

Rapid Response

Rapid response comes in many forms including accelerating the clean-up of our suburbs whenever there is storm damage to trees on public land.

Council should be sending out teams to trim back trees that have been broken and to cut down ‘hang up’ branches as quickly as possible after reports have been received.

Sports clubs need our help.

The Southern Football League has a big commitment within Onkaparinga which involves
many hundreds of player and many thousands of supports.

  • They have a desperate need for more ‘green space’ (ovals) and female friendly facilities.
  • Maintenance of grounds is problematic.

Solutions could include:

  • New lighting for night games on existing facilities.
  • Playing junior games on school ovals but this will require organisation to facilitate arrangements between the clubs and schools because at the moment many schools lock their grounds at night or don’t have goal posts.
  • Insurance for new grounds or for use of schools grounds must be put in place.

Let me know what you think about these issues for all of Onkaparinga

Commission an independent Forensic Audit of the last 3 years of Council spending to see where the money is going and share the findings, warts ‘n’ all with ratepayers. We need to identify areas of excess spending, low returns on investment and money wastage.   Let’s carefully and strategically start making spending cuts so we can all save.

We can’t hope to seriously examine Onkaparinga’s finances without a Forensic Audit.   Until we have that we will be flying blind.

Put a freeze on hiring new staff until the Forensic Audit has been completed and remedies put in place.

Council employs 856 staff with a total wage bill of over $78million. They are not all cutting lawns and fixing roads. Bureaucracies, such as local councils, will expand indefinitely unless we take action to push back and introduce efficiencies and sensible controls.

Introducing a freeze on employment is only sensible until a Forensic Audit can be completed which could identify where the money is going.

Purge the council of expensive and ill-conceived political and ideologically inspired projects.   Focus on what councils have traditionally done.

  • Rates
  • Rubbish
  • Roads
  • Recreation
  • Rapid Response times


If it’s not about directly serving the local community, council should not be involved.

Even though observing Australia Day may be considered to be political it’s clear the majority of residents support it, so if we are a democracy, then it should be supported by council especially since councils are expected to conduct Citizenship Ceremonies.

I oppose Councils engaging in social engineering. The ceremony of performing the ‘Welcome to Country’ or ‘Acknowledgement of Indigenous Australians’ in Local Councils at the beginning of every Council meeting or event only serves to amplify division within the community.

It’s time for unity.   We are all in this together, no matter our religion or ethnic background.

Until this country has one flag that can represent all peoples, including Aboriginals, then no flags of any kind or of any nation, including the Australian flag should be flown within any Council owned or sponsored land or premises.

We can’t discriminate. We can’t give preference to any one national group. If you think we should fly the Aboriginal flag then why not the Greek flag or the English flag or the Ukrainian flag.

AS A PROTEST AGAINST DIVISION we should refuse to fly any flags until we can, as Australians, agree on one national flag which will represent all people that call Australia home.

Projects pertaining to Climate Change, Sustainability and Smart Cities, to name a few, fall outside the traditional scope of council. These types of projects are matters for state and federal government and the rate payers should not be burdened with funding them. Government does grant funding for some of these projects but the funding NEVER covers the full cost.

These projects are largely inspired by political ideologies so their implementation should go back to the place where most of them originated. State and Federal governments have the checks and balances that can deal with them.

Councils simply do not have the systems that have the checks and balances that can critically assess the value and truth of these special projects.

I oppose the sexualisation of our children. We can see this happening in many different ways in our community:

  • Publications in our libraries available to children that contain content of a sexual nature must be removed.
  • Any event or enterprise or organisation that promotes sexual content that might be financed or otherwise sponsored by the City of Onkaparinga must be stopped.
  • Children under the age of 18 should not be subjected to anything of a sexual nature unless it’s in a private setting with the informed consent of their parents or guardian.
  • I oppose the gender confusion our children are being subjected to in their schools and wider community. Putting biological males in girls’ bathrooms or girl’s sports can be dangerous and a threat to young girls.
  • Watch this deputation at Port Adelaide and Enfield Council.


I would appreciate hearing from anyone about these issues or contact me if you want to find out more.

If people get behind with council rates they should not be forced to sell their homes in order to pay the arrears.

There are many people who have paid off their home and retired. As time passes they find the money they have saved or their superannuation is not enough. Think of them as asset rich and cash poor. But their asset may only be the family home.

Why, after a lifetime of working and paying taxes, should anyone’s peace be shattered by a council forcing them to sell their home to pay council rates? If they sell to go into a smaller and cheaper home isn’t the council just helping to push them into poverty and homelessness.

That’s not the way people should be forced to endure their retirement.

They should be able to suspend all payments until the property is eventually sold, BUT SOLD ON THEIR TERMS. Any accrued debt could come out of the final sale proceeds but not because big government has hounded them.

That is a conversation we need to have.

If people are behind in their payment of rates or in a dispute with council no services should ever be withheld. For a large corporation, like council, to use withdrawing of services or the threat of withdrawing services from an individual or property as a threat to get its way is blatant bullying of the worst kind and should never be tolerated.

I support a 20% discount for Council rates to Centrelink Pension Card Holders. This should be contingent upon council making savings with the new measures I am proposing.

We need to support those with lower incomes to stay in their homes as long as possible.

Council needs to be accountable for its mistakes and poor decisions and compensate any victim in a timely manner to avoid litigation.

It is immoral for a large financial organisation like the City of Onkaparinga to use its relatively unlimited resources of money and lawyers TO FIGHT ITS OWN RESIDENTS in the courts to the point where they become financially, psychologically and emotionally bankrupt.

These ‘lawfare’ tactics must stop.

I would be a voice for rate payers who have been unfairly targeted by bad or socially undesirable decisions under the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 that effectively subverts homeowners of the right to control their own property.

Currently Councils are no longer obliged to inform rate payers of any ‘legitimate’ decisions under the Act even if those decisions severely affect their property.

I support approvals within 30 days for all residential development applications including home improvements or residential land divisions where the application is for a single residential title of less than 2000 square metres. The Council may extend the approval time for another 30 days but if it fails to make an extension before the 30 day limit then approval is automatically given.

If you don’t agree with the exact details of this proposal then I would like to hear your suggestions.

Give ONE free fruit tree of their choice, to any rate payer upon application. It would be nice if rate payers thought the council did more than take away their garbage.

More people should be encouraged to grow food. Imagine if the residents of an entire street were to approach council and it agreed to plant fruit trees along the entire foot path if those residents in turn agreed to share in the maintenance of them.

This is all a part of what I see as ‘Rapid Response’.   As a general principle the council should respond quickly to complaints or reports of damage or other issues.  

Getting a job done quickly magnifies its value to everyone.

I oppose Council excluding residents from meetings by declaring deliberations confidential. Ideally the decision making process of council should be transparent to everyone.

The Council should refuse to allow any organisation to make representations to them unless they are done publically. Council should refuse to have dealings with anyone or any organisation unless they wish to be completely transparent and that especially includes other government agencies.

The community must be able to enter any public meeting of the Council without restrictions.

  • No limits on numbers entering the public gallery. Numbers that exceed the capacity of the public gallery must be properly in the overflow room.
  • No one should be required to supply their personal details or be required to sign in to attend meetings
  • The glass wall that was recently erected to separate the Council Chamber from the Public Gallery should be removed
  • Upgrade the audio system that enables the public in the overflow room to easily listen to the deliberations in the Chamber
  • Meetings should be live streamed


This newspaper should primarily benefit those who don’t have access to the internet. It should not be a glossy propaganda sheet for the council with advertising but a low cost black & white publication functioning as a genuine and balanced source of information for residents.

The level of toxicity of Glyphosate should not be under estimated. This is the active ingredient in many weed killers. Dangerous levels of this toxin can be found throughout the food chain which contributes to severe health problems.

I support a one-time dog registration fee of $150 for large dogs and $110 for small dogs.

  • This will be a one-off payment to cover the life of a pet.
  • The fee Includes a $50 deposit
  • If the pet dies or if the owner leaves Onkaparinga the deposit will be refunded upon application


The purpose of the deposit is so people are encouraged to remove their pet from the records otherwise in a number of years it may appear there is a massive number of dogs registered of which only a small fraction actually exist.

The goal of this policy is to enable those of limited financial means to have a pet and to stop the abandonment of pets.


There has been a significant uproar about the increasing boat ramp fees and a growing feeling that they should be free just like in so many other councils.   When I went to Port Lincoln over the Christmas period I noticed how many boat ramps there were and all the ones I saw were free.   Many retired residents have found the rising cost to launch a boat from the O’Sullivans Beach Boat Ramp to be high enough for them to decide to leave their boats at home.

We should look at boat ramps as a tourism draw card.   We should also consider putting in more quality boat ramps so people can enjoy our great coastline.

If hazardous trees or other vegetation on public land damages a resident’s property then council should pay to fix the damage where it can be shown that a formal report of the problem was sent to Council at least 30 days before the incident occurred.

We should not support the erection or ongoing use of 5G internet transmission towers until we have evidence that they do not cause any harm to people or wildlife.   The evidence must come from a source with no conflict of interest, direct or indirect.

You may remember, a few years ago, talk of; ‘fibre to the node’ or ‘fibre to the home’.   That was the plan to create an underground network of fibreglass data lines to bring high speed internet to every home.   But they found it was very expensive so now they have opted to create the the much cheaper  transmission towers that beam their signals across our communities.

The flow of data in the underground fibreglass lines was shielded and perfectly safe but not when transmitted from the towers on high frequency millimetre waves in all directions over our homes.

There are studies available to show these transmissions are not safe.

It’s possible to commission a survey of the levels of dangerous radiation that is being released everywhere. It needs to be mapped and quantified to enable us to take action.

The council needs to be at the forefront of this survey.