Local Government Rates

HUTCHINS (Minister for Local Government) — I rise to inform the house of a new government initiative. Since the last parliamentary sitting, the Minister for Finance and I announced the terms of reference for the Essential Services Commission to undertake a consultative process with councils and ratepayers around our government’s fair go rate system.

Honourable members interjecting.

Ms HUTCHINS — Those opposite did nothing over the past few years while council rates increased at twice the level of inflation. In particular, there were some councils around the state that took advantage of the blind eye that was turned by those opposite. Banyule City Council increased its rates and charges 10 per cent in the year 2012–13 and 13 per cent in the year 2013–14; and Casey City Council increased rates by 10 per cent, 9 per cent and 9 per cent over three years. It is just not fair on Victorian ratepayers.

We care about how the actions of government — all levels of government — impact on the day-to-day lives of Victorians. Let me remind the house that after mortgage repayments, rate notices are the biggest bill that a household receives.

Ms HUTCHINS — Ratepayers, the community and the Herald Sun have given this policy a pass, and those opposite should do the same. We are taking a stand on behalf of ratepayers — —

Ms HUTCHINS — We are dealing with the situation of the rate rises that were allowed to flourish in the last few years. We are getting on with the job. We are consulting. We have our doors open.