Victorian Labor says its policy of rate capping for councils will ease the financial pressure on the state's ratepayers.DARREN LINTON May 5, 2014 3:30am
Victorian Labor will go to the November election with a policy to introduce rate capping to ease the burden on ratepayers.
It would force councils to keep annual rate rises to the annual inflation figure and to justify any increase above the Consumer Price Index, but the Municipal Association of Victoria has expressed disbelief, describing it as a destructive policy that would wreak havoc for generations.
‘‘Daniel Andrews has effectively endorsed a failed Kennett reform that has hurt ratepayers for two decades and been a key factor in successive rate rises to address crumbling community infrastructure,’’ association president Bill McArthur said.
Under the policy, councils wishing to raise rates above CPI would have to go to the independent Essential Services Commission.
Since 2002-3 Greater Shepparton has averaged rate rises of about six per cent a year, while the average annual inflation rate during the past 11 years was 2.7 per cent.
‘‘Under Labor, councils will be forced to limit rate rises and detail where every dollar will be spent, because ratepayers deserve a fair go,’’ Labor leader Daniel Andrews said.
Under Labor, the commission will determine whether rate increases are fair, and will take into account extraordinary circumstances such as natural disaster, other sources of income and continued maintenance of essential council services.
If the commission believes the rate rise is unreasonable, it will recommend to the Local Government Minister the increase be blocked.
The commission already regulates pricing for gas, water and electricity in Victoria.
‘‘This policy also sends a clear message that we expect councils to keep their rates in line with CPI, any increases above this must provide a clear benefit to ratepayers,’’ Mr Andrews said.
An amendment to the Local Government Act would require draft budgets be submitted to the commission before they are adopted.
Coca-Cola Amatil has confirmed it will be pressing on with its $100 million redevelopment of SPC Ardmona.
Beautiful weather greeted Tungamah residents for the 18th running of the Tungamah Lions Ten Thousand on Sunday.
When Keith and Marion Grumley and their growing family moved to Tatura on January 18, 1968, little did they know that it would be the start of a long and lasting connection to the town.
A snake was spotted this afternoon.
Rochester Rotary Club has celebrated its 50th birthday in style.
Sorting future of Campaspe pools
A theatre production with a difference is coming to Seymour.
Local athletes will go head-to-head with some of the best competitors from around the world in swimming and athletics in December.
District residents and visitors will be able to enjoy some of the region’s most beautiful private gardens on Sunday.
The 116th annual Cobram Show went off with a bang at the weekend, drawing in crowds from far and wide for two days of fun.
Tomorrow is a Total Fire Ban day in Deniliquin, meaning no fires can be lit in the open and all fire permits are suspended.
Fifty new full-time jobs will be created at Tatura with a multimillion-dollar expansion of the abattoirs expected to be announced today.
Remembering Australian political giant Gough Whitlam who once called on Benalla police to stop then Treasurer Frank Crean on his journey up the Hume to phone the PM.
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