O’Brien seeks rate relief through local government inquiry

The arrival of annual rates notices has led to bill shock for many local ratepayers this month, heightening the need for a solution.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South, Danny O’Brien says he is hopeful that a parliamentary inquiry into local government funding and service delivery will lead to rate relief for Gippslanders.

Mr O’Brien said the inquiry, which The Nationals successfully fought for in the Upper House, aims to fix inequities in the funding of local councils.

“In my view, property rates are not the best or most equitable form of revenue raising for local councils,” Mr O’Brien said.

“It simply doesn’t make sense that in the 21st century, we are still implementing a system that was developed in the 1600s when land was the main source of wealth.

“Local ratepayers are understandably struggling to keep up with rising costs while local governments are also struggling to maintain service delivery with cost-of-living increases being felt right across the board.

“This Inquiry will examine the overall revenue structure for local councils, whether it is sustainable and what alternative models there might be.”

Mr O’Brien said while he hopes the inquiry will lead to a solution to ease the pressure of increasing rates, it will also look at the entire funding model for local government.

“It is important that we examine the impact that cost shifting from the state and federal governments is having on our local councils, especially long-suffering ratepayers.

“We need to look at what affects council’s ability to manage core responsibilities like rubbish collection, road maintenance, footpaths and libraries and examine whether councils are meeting their service delivery objectives.

“This Inquiry must 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.

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