Local council rates set to soar

Indebted households in New South Wales face another hit to their income from soaring council rates across the state.

New charges authorised by local government minister Barbara Perry mean that ratepayers across NSW will face bills of more than $1,000 a year after councils lifted rates past ten per cent, the Daily Telegraph reported.

The move comes after research showed that rising financial pressures have caused a sharp fall in consumer confidence, with spending in department stores falling 5.8 per cent in the space of a year. Growing debt problems have prompted more Aussies to compare debit cards in search of safer spending options.

Commenting on the spending trend, the Daily Telegraph observed: "Australian consumers – hit by a wave of financial pressure, rising living costs and steady interest rate rises – are keeping their wallets firmly in their pockets."

The council rate hike in NSW follows other increases in gas and electricity bills earlier this year.

Meanwhile, data from the Housing Industry Association showed yesterday that new home sales fell at their sharpest rate for nearly two years in May 2010 as rising interest rates dampened demand.

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