| July 29, 2022

Kealy tests Labor’s Fair Go Rates scheme

The Nationals Member for Lowan Emma Kealy has written to the Essential Services Commission seeking advice on the validity of a rating decision by the Glenelg Shire Council in the development of its 2022/23 budget.

The council recently adopted the budget, which includes a shift in rating strategy from a rebate system to a differential system.

The decision effectively means council’s net rate revenue will increase by $3.4 million this year, far in excess of the 1.75% rate cap legislated in the Victorian Government’s Fair Go Rates policy.

A large number of primary producers are now facing massive rate hikes and have criticised the council’s decision to include the value of a rebate applied to farmers last year in calculating net revenue under the 2022/23 differential system.

Ms Kealy, who has been contacted by numerous affected farmers since the council released its draft budget, has sought the ESC’s advice on the validity of council’s decision regarding the rebate, and a ruling on whether the 2022/23 budget complies with the Victorian Government’s Fair Go Rates system.

“I’m very disappointed that Glenelg Shire Council didn’t take the opportunity to waive the 1.75% increase, or even apply a transitional differential rate over a number of years to adjust to the new rating system and avoid such a massive bill shock for its ratepayers,” Ms Kealy said.

“While I understand the financial pressures facing councils, ratepayers simply cannot afford rate increases of this magnitude, particularly at a time when cost of living pressures are going through the roof.

“Years ago Labor promised that they would fix Victoria’s rating system.

“But the system remains broken and in desperate need of reform – country people are simply not getting a Fair Go as promised by Labor and it needs to change.”

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