We need an­swers to rat­ing anx­i­ety

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

Any­one fol­low­ing lo­cal gov­ern­ment pol­i­tics in re­gional Vic­to­ria is usu­ally more than fa­mil­iar with de­bate about the di­vide be­tween ur­ban and ru­ral ratepay­ers.

Find­ing an ap­pro­pri­ate medium where a dif­fer­en­tial sys­tem rep­re­sents what is fair and eq­ui­table seems as far off to­day as it has at any time in the past.

In fact there is prob­a­bly no greater is­sue that di­vides com­mu­nity opin­ion and that has the abil­ity, as we’ve seen in the re­gion this year, to crip­ple gov­er­nance.

The de­ci­sion on how much farm­ers com­pared with ev­ery­one else should pay to be part of a mu­nic­i­pal­ity has be­come a quag­mire of sub­jec­tiv­ity.

This is al­ways go­ing to be the case with a rat­ing sys­tem based sim­ply on a com­par­i­son of over­all prop­erty val­ues.

Un­for­tu­nately, re­gional so­ci­ety is a bit more com­pli­cated than that and af­ter hear­ing all the ar­gu­ments we are left in con­fu­sion about ev­ery­thing from what per­sonal wealth means to who has the ca­pac­ity to pay and what ser­vices are avail­able to all ratepay­ers.

It’s a mess and while our coun­cils fol­low di­rec­tions based on a prop­erty-value for­mula, it won’t get any bet­ter.

Some of us are start­ing to un­der­stand why mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties of yes­ter­year in­cluded ‘donut’ pat­terns, where self-gov­ern­ing ru­ral shires, de­spite al­ways be­ing short of peo­ple and cash, sur­rounded city mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.

In those cir­cum­stances, of­fi­cials had few prob­lems com­par­ing ‘ap­ples with ap­ples’.

What the an­swer is to solv­ing this an­nual anx­i­ety, which seems es­pe­cially acute with the farm­ing com­mu­nity, we don’t know. What we do know is that this repet­i­tive and noisy de­bate pro­vides am­mu­ni­tion for any fu­ture ar­gu­ment to re­move the re­spon­si­bil­ity of rates from lo­cal gov­ern­ment.

That would mean the State Gov­ern­ment have con­trol of mu­nic­i­pal rates.

Who would be com­fort­able with Spring Street con­trol?

Here’s hop­ing we es­tab­lish the right an­swers and main­tain at least some con­trol over our own fi­nan­cial des­tiny.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.