Beverley McArthur MP
Member for Western Victoria Region
CITY VERSUS COUNTRY RATE DIVIDE
Member for Western Victoria Region, Bev McArthur used a constituency question and adjournment debate this week to highlight the inequity in the current property tax system of council rates.
Bev McArthur asked the Minister for Local Government to alleviate the unfair burden on regional and rural ratepayers. She highlighted the concerns of Adrian Mohr, a 62 year old farmer in her electorate. Mr McDonald, from Meredith works two additional jobs to pay his rate bill of $5500. One of the jobs is as a school bus driver navigating some less than satisfactory roads on the bus route.
Bev referred to the 2018 Inquiry into Victoria’s Rural and Regional Councils. The Report noted that a Stonnington Council resident of Toorak pays $962 in rates on an $800,000 property while a resident in Donald in the Buloke Shire in Western Victoria Region would pay $6990 in rates for the same $800,000 property.
At the same time Stonnington Council collects nearly twice the amount in animal registration fees and parking fines as Buloke does in rates. This $22m windfall courtesy of dogs and fines in Stonnington is virtually Buloke’s entire projected revenue for 2019/20.
The inequity between these country and city municipalities is further demonstrated by Stonnington only needing to spend $5m on 260km of roads, while Buloke has to spend $8m on 5550km of sealed, gravel and earth roads.
Not only are rural townspeople victims of this inequity but also farmers who have seen up to a 52 per cent increase in property valuations and a huge consequential rate increase.
State Government imposed annual valuations and consequent huge rate imposts come at a time when many farmers are doing it tough due to drought, lack of water access and other market and seasonal factors.
Mrs McArthur called on the Minister to outline what he is doing to end this unfair and discriminatory city versus country system of property taxing?
6 March 2019