Rate capping is a first initiative for reforming the Local Government Sector. A bigger program is reviewing the LG Act and other associated laws, to make sure community concerns like those expressed in this social forum no longer prevail.

Councils and their peak bodies are strongly against such reform changes, and continue to convince and confuse people that rate capping would result in service cuts, especially referring to service cuts, like those mentioned in this forum, that are already happening or planned in their budget plans, way before the rate capping policy development program commenced.
The rate capping program requires LG to be more efficient and continues to support Councils provide services that are relevant to their needs of their community. Through a capped rate variation process, this policy also formally requires Councils to improve community participation in supporting services that truly meet community needs and wants. The propaganda of service cuts is part of the sector's usual culture of media manipulation to resist any matters that changes the status quo, especially regarding reforms that curtail Councils' resolve to spend what and how they like. It is no surprise that the community is being mislead to believe that childcare and aged care services would be affected first because of rate capping. Check your councils' financial budget forecasts and many will find many inefficiencies and hidden large reserves of surplus cash, which can be reduced and contribute to lower rates for everyone. Most metro councils are in this position. Some regional and rural councils may be exceptions - however the rate capping policy allows them to apply for capped rate variation and evidence of high quality community consultation and a strong business case are two of the criteria for approval. The rate capping policy only applies to general rate associated revenue, excluding revenue from other sources. It is a no brainer that rate capping and other future reforms coming, will benefit ratepayers and every other stakeholders. It is because these reforms will make the LG system become more transparent, accountable, community engaging and efficient. Councils do not have to choose cutting important services that are truly required by their communities. If needed they can apply for capped rate variations provided they show they have effectively consulted their communities and provided them with strong business cases. The challenge is their resolve to genuinely engage and collaborate with their communities in joint decision making - a key cultural change, being strongly resisted presently.

user picture Chan Cheah · 4 years ago · 119 votes · 6 comments
Yes Ms Cheah, you have really hit the nail on the head when it comes to extravagant spending of councils & they in turn try to scare the community into saying that services will be cut.This is just scaremongering & nonsense.The rates in the City of Casey have gone up by 300% in 10-12 years,I wish our pensions & workers salaries can achieve this high percentage.This council has secretly added $25.5 million in the 2015-2016 budget for Bunjil Place which I am sure that not every ratepayer is aware of this secret.Many councils do give 6 tickets to ratepayers with their rate notices,allowing them to take items to the tip without any payment to the tip operator,not so with the CITY OF CASEY.WHY?Last but not least the biggest headaches of ratepayers is INFRASTRUCTURE,this must & should be the responsibility of Federal/State Governments (NOT COUNCILS) as councils have absolutely no idea of what is needed by the community.A few issues noted as follows: 1.The community must be able to hold council to account about services they provide.To do this people need information about what decisions local councils are taking & how local councils are spending public money. 2 Publish spending money over $500. Local councils must now produce policy statements about staff pay including CEO,Staff & lower paid staff. 3. The community to have 20 days a year to scrutinize local council accounts. 4. Public accountability of local councils a)Requires Councillors to declare their interests & councils to to publish agendas,documents & reports. b) Establish a register of land & buildings maintained by councils,the aim of the resister is to identify land & buildings not fully used.. 5. Local councils to publish their scheme of allowances & actual allowances paid to any member of the local council in any given year. 6. The local community to have information about the the amount of monies collected under the "Development Contribution Plans Rates" for Development Contribution Residential rate/lot-unit,Community Infrastructure Levy Rate/Lot-unit,Development Contribution Rate/ha,Community Infrastructure Levy $ /dwelling & other charges charges accordingly in the Development Contribution Plans Rates. 5. The freedom of Information Act : To allow any member of the community to request information/documentations held by councils without any restrictions whatsoever. 6. The Local Government Act must provide the community with access to information & documentations held by local council executives,mayor & Councillors again with no restrictions.Remove COMMERCIAL CONFIDENTIALITY FROM EVERY COUNCIL.,As they hide under the guise of COMMERCIAL CONFIDENTIALITY when questions are asked. Legislation on the last 2 policies to be made compulsory without any restrictions whatsoever.The community have every right to know how councils are spending public money.
Dunstan Girton · 4 years ago
I agree with Chan Cheah and all the other comments below. Councils have become so bloated and self serving. In Dandenong we have regular junkets interstate and overseas, even to China at the ratepayers expense, producing who knows how much carbon from the planes while we are also funding replacement of street lighting with 'green' bulbs at huge cost to prove to residents that the Council is responsible.Time we got rid of this level of Government which has for years charged whatever it wanted with absolutely no consultation of ratepayers. The rates should not only be capped, but wound back, but with State Govt's also addicted to increasing all charges, Motor reg, fines, etc by cpi what chance of that happening?
Peter Midwood · 4 years ago
I have been involved in various community organisations for over 30 years and have seen the continuous publication of all sorts of "strategic plans" by Council(s) with most of them being a complete waste of money. Most Councils appear to be drastically over managed. There used to be a small office staff with most people employed in services, now it seems to be reversed. Perhaps we need a major inquiry into the services Councils provide.
Ray Henderson · 4 years ago
Stop ratepayer funded junkets and excessive payments to bureaucrats. We need transparency as a priority now. The City of Melton's Council has recently introduced a media policy that prevents councillors criticising council. They no longer have a voice for the ratpayer if they are censored. We also do not need our local governments duplicating what is State Government's role.
Karen Ellis · 4 years ago
Absolutely correct! Councils, even smaller Rural Councils can quite easily reduce "services" that are not needed and are not wanted by the majority of rate payers. During the last 10 to 15 years, Councils went on a "Council-Grandiousement" spending spree, rather then acting in the best interests of the rate payers. In many instances, Councils and Councillors behaved in a rather cavalier fashion and if more money was needed (as it always is) just raise the rates. One can always blame the Federal and State Governments for cost shifting. Local Government (a misnomer, as it is actually more of a "Body Corporate") is like any other business. If you have not got the money, you cannot afford to buy it, whatever "IT" maybe. This rate capping is the best thing that has happened in Victoria and I congratulate the Andrews Government and Minister Hutchins in particular. And yes, I am a Councillor.
Lake Bolac Caravan Park · 4 years ago
4got to state the Q: Why are Councils and peak bodies continuing to frighten their communities by saying services like childcare and aged care would be cut first? Are not these services already cut or planned to be cut before the rate capping policy dev program began?
Chan Cheah · 4 years ago
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Patrick Aritonang Maria Riedl steven wintrip Karen Ellis david oates Wendy Lang Winnie Hor Renee Ciah Ross Taylor Raybelle Chee Kim Nguyen Peter Louey William  Bryan adrian jones John Schmidt Danna Wu Helen Horvath peter Digaletos Dunstan Girton Kath Taylor Emidio Passioni Alan Nelsen Chien Li wilma western Ray Henderson