Minister for Local Government Natalie Hutchins has asked the Essential Services Commission (ESC) to publish its annual rate cap recommendations on an annual basis.
The move is part of the Andrews Labor Government’s support for a Fair Go Rates system that ensures transparency in decision making and more accountability to the public.
The ESC recommended a 2.8% cap on rate increases for the 2016-2017 financial year, based on both the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Wage Price Index (WPI) or 2.5%.
But in December, Ms Hutchins decided rates would be capped at 2.5% based solely on CPI, honouring the Labor Government’s election commitment to tie the cap to CPI.
In the past year, the Labor Government has introduced reforms to improve transparency in local government including the Know Your Council website, which tracks the performance of every Victorian council across dozens of indicators.
The Labor Government also moved to eliminate ambiguous councillor ‘ward funds’, where portions of council budgets were distributed by individual councillors without any real oversight.
The new move to publish the ESC’s annual advice on rate capping is a way for the Government to lead the way on transparency and to join with councils in becoming more open and forthcoming with the community.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Local Government Natalie Hutchins
“Local communities should have all the facts, so I’m more than happy for the ESC to publish its recommendations on rate capping.”
“Improving transparency in local government has been one of our key focuses since coming to office and this move will further improve that process.”
“By introducing the Fair Go Rates system, the Andrews Labor Government is delivering on its commitment to cap council rate rises and protect Victorian households from uncontrolled hikes.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020