Victorians are invited to have their say on how local councils apply rates and charges, as an independent panel gears up to review the state’s current rating system.
The Local Government Rating System Review has been launched with an independent three-person panel tasked with ensuring a fair and transparent rating system is in place for communities.
The panel is chaired by former CEO of the Melbourne City Council, Royal Children’s and Royal Women’s hospitals Dr Kathy Alexander, who said: “This is the first time in a long time that Victoria’s rating system has been reviewed in its entirety, and it’s about giving ratepayers, councils and the wider community a rating system that is measured, fair and equitable.”
Joining Dr Alexander on the panel is former Chairperson of the Essential Services Commission Dr Ron Ben-David and former Brimbank City Council administrator Mr John Tanner.
“We will be consulting with communities, councils, peak bodies and key stakeholders to have meaningful discussions around how rates and charges are applied,” Dr Alexander said.
“Victorian ratepayers should know how their rates are raised and how the costs of council services are allocated across the state.
“Rates have existed as a major revenue source for local councils for many years, helping to fund important works and projects that enrich the community.
“The rating system is complex and the result of many years of additions and different council practices, so one of our roles will be to demystify some of the major parts of the system.
“Our focus will be on identifying areas where the current rating system can be improved, and what changes can be made to how these charges are imposed on ratepayers moving forward.
“There will be lots of opportunities for people to provide their feedback, make formal submissions and with public hearings held across Victoria we looking forward to hearing from the community.
“The feedback we receive from this review will inform future decision-making and establish what the priorities should be for how rates and charges are applied in the future.
“It is important that this review is done right and we’re expecting to be able to share our findings with the Minister for Local Government by March 2020.
“The Fair Go rate cap will not be covered in this review and will be separately reviewed by 2021.”