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.
Police are asking for information about an assault in Shepparton that left a man with serious facial injuries and broken bones last month.
The 2014 Yarrawonga Mulwala Multisport Festival has been hailed a huge success by organisers and participants alike.
The fifth annual King Billy Retreat Open Garden Party will be held at Rushworth on Saturday and Sunday, October 25-26, from 10 am to 4 pm.
Emily Umbers has been helping members of the Maasai community to get a toilet.
St Joseph’s Primary School students took part in an extended after-school stay.
Fraser sure has aces in spades
A great day brought big numbers to Station St in Seymour.
Finley's Mark Whiley has been traded from the GWS Giants to Carlton - the club he has supported all his life.
Nominations are being sought for the annual Axedale CWA community youth award.
Access to Ulupna Island has been blocked at key points, leaving local residents and businesses rallying for a re-opening in a bid to save tourism dollars.
Deniliquin McDonald's raised more than $1300 for McHappy Day on Saturday.
Up to14 new full-time jobs will be created at Pactum Dairy Group in Shepparton, with the company set to embark on an $18million expansion at its factory.
Alma Nungarrayi Granites is the most successful of the Warlukurlangu artists who still live at Yuendumu and enjoys teaching children about aboriginal culture and art.
Discover unbelievable local deals from local businesses every week in the Goulburn and Murray Valley area with Leapon.com.au!
Search properties for sale or rent across North Central Victoria and Southern NSW. Visit your local website for local homes....
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.