Local government | June 18, 2015

Have your say on Labor's rate capping

Thursday 18th June 2015

Member for Eastern Victoria Region Melina Bath is encouraging ratepayers and local councils across the region to have their say on the Andrews Labor Government’s proposed cap on rates.

Ms Bath agreed rates should be kept down and said the Liberal-Nationals Coalition had always worked hard to lower the cost of living for families. 

“But it is important that the cap does not impact important infrastructure or services in country Victoria, such as public libraries, child care and children’s crossing supervisors,” Ms Bath said.

“With rates being capped Daniel Andrews needs to make sure councils have enough funding so their communities don’t suffer with reduced services or deteriorating roads and infrastructure.”

Member for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien said Labor had done nothing but attack country councils’ budgets, ripping out millions of dollars in vital funding.

“The Country Roads and Bridges Program was providing each of our country councils with around $1 million a year to upgrade local roads and bridges, but that’s gone,” Mr O’Brien said.

“The $100 million Local Government Infrastructure Program was helping councils to build new halls and theatres, sporting grounds, grand stands, pools, libraries, and upgrading existing facilities. That’s gone too.

“It’s a double whammy; they are capping the rates and then cutting these important programs, putting added pressure on councils to deliver the services we expect.” 

Member for Gippsland East Tim Bull agreed Daniel Andrews couldn’t have it both ways. 

“He can’t cap council rates while tearing out millions in government funding and expect country councils to continue delivering the same services,” Mr Bull said.

“The Government needs to consider increasing funding to compensate councils or these caps will result in reduced services, as many councils are warning.”

The Nationals MPs have encouraged anyone with a view on the rate capping policy to have their say through a parliamentary inquiry that is currently underway.

“The Liberal-Nationals Coalition wants to make sure the final policy that is introduced by the Labor Government is in the best interests of all communities,” Ms Bath said. “That’s why your opinion is so important.”

Submissions close on 10 July and more detail about how to make a submission or contribute at a public hearing can be found at www.parliament.vic.gov.au/epc

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