Answered! Forum closed
Tell your friends

Local Government in Victoria is facing some of the biggest challenges since the amalgamations directed by the Kennett Government in the 1990s. The new Andrews Labor Government says that Councils are gouging the community with high rates.

Local government bodies argue that they deliver great value for money and have increasingly had to meet service gaps left by the state and federal governments through cost shifting.

The Minister for Local Government, the Hon. Natalie Hutchins says if the sector can't impose it own financial disciplines she will by setting future rate rises at CPI drastically cutting the rate take around the state and forcing some hard decisions on Councils.

Is the Minister wrong? Should she go further? Is local government worth the $7 billion it costs in Victoria each year?

Post and vote for the questions you'd like to put to the Minister. Everyone has 7 votes to spend across one or multiple questions.

Read more

Local Government in Victoria is facing some of the biggest challenges since the amalgamations directed by the Kennett Government in the 1990s. The new Andrews Labor Government says that Councils are gouging the community with high rates.

Local government bodies argue that they deliver great value for money and have increasingly had to meet service gaps left by the state and federal governments through cost shifting.

The Minister for Local Government, the Hon. Natalie Hutchins says if the sector can't impose it own financial disciplines she will by setting future rate rises at CPI drastically cutting the rate take around the state and forcing some hard decisions on Councils.

Is the Minister wrong? Should she go further? Is local government worth the $7 billion it costs in Victoria each year?

Post and vote for the questions you'd like to put to the Minister. Everyone has 7 votes to spend across one or multiple questions.

Submit and vote for questions to put to the Minister and if your question is voted in the top three on our forum it will be put to the Minister on October 5, 2015.

89
Questions

681
Votes

84
Comments

This forum is finished. It closed about . You can still look at and comment on existing questions!

Vote
Winning
Question

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.

People asking questions
Kay Hunnam marc Baptista lou baxter Pera Wells Jack Medcraft Carolyn Cvek Rafal Julius Martin Friendship Sylvie Leber Aurilius G Karl Williams Wayne McKail David  Kemp Margaret Ludowyk Robert Wiatrowski Diana Robertson Pauline  Neil Banyule United Gary Haley Adam Giles Elaine Smith Anthony Jones Jo Canny Alan Nelsen Alan Hill