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.
Hafizullah Mohaqiq was born in Afghanistan, spent periods living in Pakistan and Iran, before arriving in Shepparton two months ago.
The Mulwala Lions had satisfying and hard fought win, in difficult conditions, against last year’s grand finalists at Lonsdale Reserve on Saturday.
The Fairley Leadership Program met in Tatura on Wednesday, exploring ‘Water and our catchment’ at Goulburn Murray Water.
Road authorities have made little progress to fixing Echuca’s most dangerous intersections.
Lockington Vintage Tractor and Stationary Engine Rally is on for the 18th time this weekend and there is something for everyone.
Kyabram and District Sportstar of the Year nominations finalised
Three local clubs get together at Kings Park.
Tributes flow for Finley's inspiring mother, friend and farming advocate Jennifer Hawkins
A visit by Coliban Water to Heathcote last week provided residents with a chance to quiz staff about water and sewer services.
A new book, Men from the River Bends, honours Cobram-Barooga and district soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice after enlisting in World War 1.
Deniliquin bowler Dennis O'Keefe lost 25-19 in his bid for a quarter-final spot in the Victorian Singles Championships this week.
Widespread rain late last week and on Saturday put a smile on the faces of farmers preparing to sow crops or waiting for weeds to emerge on early-sown rye-grass.
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.