Questions on Notice: Fair Go Rate Capping
MR DAVIS — To ask the Special Minister of State (for the Minister for Local Government): in relation to the comments made by the Minister for Public Transport, Ms Jacinta Allan, MP, on 774 Drive with Raf Epstein on 28 April 2015 regarding local Council rates:
(1) What evidence is available, specifically in media releases or media coverage accessible to the Victorian community, in support of the Minister for Public Transport, Ms Jacinta Allan, MP’s comments that rate capping would not be implemented until 2016-17 and warning the community that rate rises in many municipalities in 2015-16 would be greatly in excess of the consumer price index.
(2) Has there been a post-election change to the Government policy that was not reflected in the Government’s election commitment or in the Premier, Mr Daniel Andrews, MP’s statements to the Victorian community relating to the election commitment.
I thank the Member for Southern Metropolitan for his question.
The Government made a pre election commitment to implement the Fair Go Rates System in its term of government and it is getting on with the job.
Examples of public statements on this commitment include my media releases dated 17 April 2015 and 2 June 2015 and the Premier’s media releases dated 17 April 2015, 2 June 2015 and 14 May 2015.
Further, the commitment that the policy will be implemented in the 2016-17 financial year was highlighted in an email sent by myself to all Victorian council Mayors and CEOs on 14 January 2015. This email also warned against unnecessary rate rises in the 2015-16 financial year-on the basis that unnecessary rate rises may affect eligibility for future cap exemptions, as previous years’ rate rises may form part of the considerations of applications for variation.
After I sent this letter, the information that the cap would be implemented in the 2016-17 financial year was reiterated numerous times in articles published by different newspapers.
A recent analysis by the MAV put the average rate increase at 3.8%, the lowest in a decade. This demonstrates that most councils are lowering their rate rises ahead of the Fair Go Rates System start date.
To ensure a quality and well-designed framework, I have also established the Local Government Sector Reference Group to give councils, communities and stakeholders more opportunity to have their say on the Fair Go Rates System. The Reference Group will also assist the Essential Services Commission to work through the issues raised by the submissions and advise on a system that will ensure fairer rates.