VFF calls for overhaul of council rates

By Rodney Woods

The VFF has called for a total overhaul of council rates and the way local government is funded at a public hearing in Melbourne.

In the VFF’s submission to the Local Government Rating Systems Review, the federation asked for an equalised funding model in which local government rates are redistributed across councils on the basis of equity and need.

“The local government rating system has failed Victorians, and is producing inequitable outcomes for all ratepayers,” VFF president David Jochinke said.

“You know the system is broken when a $300 000 property in Kerang pays $2400 in rates and a similarly valued property in Toorak pays just $390.

“Victoria’s rating system has created a situation whereby rural ratepayers pay more in rates as a percentage of the value of their property than ratepayers in metropolitan Melbourne.

“What’s more, rural ratepayers receive and have access to fewer services from local government than ratepayers in the city.”

In addition to a redistribution of funds, the VFF has called for the reintroduction of minimum and maximum rates alongside five-year average valuations for property, separation of house and curtilage from farmland and mandatory differential rates for farmland.