Ratepayer group's meeting draws crowd
An information evening hosted by Federation Ratepayers Inc was well attended last Tuesday as crunch time looms for residents to have their say on Federation Council's application for a special rate variation (SRV) to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART).
The information session, held at the Corowa Golf Club, was aimed at informing residents on how to voice their concerns to IPART on the proposed cumulative rate rise of 74.59 per cent over the next four years.
Federation Ratepayers chair David Bott said the meeting showed how people can be part of the process so that a thoroughly informed decision is made by the tribunal.
“The more informed they (IPART) are of the communities’ concerns, the better the outcomes will be for everyone,” he said.
“We estimate that there was 190 people in the room, and it highlights what we’ve been saying for some time…that council hasn’t engaged correctly with the community.
“A process like this should have been open and transparent right from the outset. If you’ve got something that is bad news, like a rate hike, you get on the front foot, lay all your cards on the table and then people can assess it and get in behind your decision.
“People haven’t felt as though they’ve had the opportunity to participate in the discussion correctly which is evident not only by the turn up we had at Coreen last year, and now Corowa, but by the fact that our group simply wouldn’t exist if council had engaged correctly.”
The capacity-filled room last Tuesday evening was also attended by councillors David Fahey OAM, Aaron Nicholls and Sally Hughes. “We were pleased to see both council staff and councillors at the meeting,” Mr Bott said.