Ministers statements: local government rates

Ms HUTCHINS (Minister for Local Government) — Last Friday the submission period for consultation on the Essential Services Commission’s draft report ended, and I would like to take this opportunity to update the house on the implementation of the popular Fair Go rates system and how it is progressing. The report underscores the need for change after an average rate increase across Victoria of 6 per cent per year over the last 15 years.

Just to remind the house of the immense popularity of this election commitment I have a few quotes to read out. Ratepayers Victoria says it supports this policy not 100 per cent but 110 per cent. The Victorian Farmers Federation said:

Farmers have backed Victoria’s plan to cap municipal rate rises …

The Property Council of Australia said:

… the property council supports the government’s commitment to hold local councils to account on how much revenue they raise from rates and where that revenue is spent.

What a sorry state those opposite are in. They cannot even face the decision of whether they support — —

Mr Clark — On a point of order, Speaker, the minister is now commencing to debate the issue. I ask you to bring her back to compliance with sessional order 7.

The SPEAKER — Order! The minister will come back to making a ministers statement.

Ms HUTCHINS — We promised this popular and vital policy, and we are going through the proper process to implement that policy. Those opposite need to take a deep breath, because this policy deserves bipartisan support — —

Mr Clark — On a point of order, Speaker, the minister is defying your ruling. She has gone back to making exactly the same statement that she was making before. I ask you to bring her back to compliance.

The SPEAKER — Order! I uphold the point of order. I ask the minister to come back and to continue with her ministers statement.

Ms HUTCHINS — It is time to support ratepayers, and this side of the house does. The Essential Services Commission will provide a final report by the end of September, and the government will prepare legislation to implement the Fair Go rates system as promised.