My members statement today is about local government. Recently I had the pleasure of meeting with various councils in Western Victoria Region—the Central Goldfields Shire Council, the Ararat Rural City Council, the Ballarat City Council and the Pyrenees Shire Council.

At each briefing I learned of the primary issues facing their local residents and an overview of their respective priorities.

A wide variety of important issues were raised by CEOs, mayors and councillors, including local road funding, tourism issues and opportunities, waste-to-energy production, worker shortages, regulatory burdens and the cost-shifting debacle being imposed on local government by their state government masters.

However, there was a common theme underpinning all meetings, and that was the need for a fundamental change in the local government funding model. This archaic property tax system as the primary revenue stream of local government is no longer equitable or viable.

I thank all those who welcomed me to their municipality. I greatly appreciated their briefings and indulgence, and I look forward to progressing my relationship with this very important tier in our democratic system.

21 March 2019