Local Government inquiry a chance to address rate pain

A new parliamentary inquiry into local government funding and service delivery is a chance to fix inequities in the funding of local councils according to a local Nationals MP.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien said that despite opposition from the Andrews Government, Animal Justice and the Legalise Cannabis Party, The Nationals and Liberals were successful in getting the inquiry established through the Legislative Council.

“I have long argued that property rates are not the best or most equitable form of revenue raising for local councils.  A system developed in the 1600s when land was the main source of wealth is not necessarily the best way to raise money for councils in the 21st century,” Mr O’Brien said.

“While many ratepayers are angry about their rates bill there are few obvious feasible alternatives.  This inquiry will examine the overall revenue structure for local councils, whether it is sustainable and what alternative models there might be.”

“We need to also examine the impact that cost shifting from the state and federal governments is having on our local councils, especially long-suffering ratepayers.”

Mr O’Brien said the inquiry will be about far more than just looking at council rates.

“This inquiry will examine the entire funding model for local government – it will look at what affects council’s ability to manage core responsibilities like rubbish collection, road maintenance, footpaths and libraries.

“The inquiry will also examine whether councils are meeting their service delivery objectives and provide constructive advice to government on building a more sustainable future for Victorian’s local councils.”

The Economy and Infrastructure Committee of the Legislative Council will complete the inquiry and deliver recommendations to the government by 30 June 2024.

Mr O’Brien is encouraging the Gippslanders to make submissions to the Inquiry once open.

Motion passed by the Legislative Council on 3 May 2023:


That this House requires the Economy and Infrastructure Committee to inquire into, consider and report, by 30 June 2024, on local government funding and service delivery in Victoria, including but not limited to —

  1. the effects of cost shifting from the state and federal governments to local councils in an examination of vertical and horizontal fiscal imbalances;
  2. whether local councils are adequately delivering on their core service delivery objectives;
  3. the overall revenue structure of local government;
  4. whether the existing revenue structure is sustainable and appropriate or if alternative models of funding would be more sustainable and appropriate; and
  5. any other related matters.

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