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Fair Go Rates system

The Victorian Government established the Fair Go Rates system to limit the maximum amount councils can increase rates in a year.

Under the Fair Go Rates system, we:

Rate caps help ensure councils deliver sustainable outcomes

Rate capping was introduced to promote the long term interests of ratepayers and the community in relation to sustainable outcomes in the delivery of services and critical infrastructure. It aims to ensure that a council has the financial capacity to perform its duties and functions and exercise its powers.

Before 31 December each year, the Minister for Local Government sets a rate cap for the next financial year,  which is the maximum amount a council can increase general rates and municipal charges. The minister can set a cap that applies to all councils, a group of councils or a single council.

If the rate cap is insufficient for a council’s needs, the council can apply to us for a higher cap. Councils can apply for up to four years of higher caps at a time.

Key dates

Date Description
13 October 2017 Submission close for the  Measuring productivity in the local government sector
18 October 2017 Submissions close for the growth study
26 October 2017 Community engagement forum in Bendigo
31 October 2017 Annual compliance information due to the commission
November 2017 Workshops for council staff
November 2017 Commission publishes annual compliance report
December 2017 Minister announces rate cap for 2018-19
31 January 2018 Notice of intention to apply for a higher cap due to the commission
1 February – 31 March 2018 Councils submit higher cap applications
February – May 2018 Commission assesses higher cap applications
By 30 June 2018: Councils formally adopt budgets
31 October 2018 Annual compliance information due to the commission
November 2018 Commission publishes annual compliance report

Attend our Fair Go Rates system forum in Bendigo

Date: Thursday 26 October 2017
Time: 9 am – 4 pm
Location: The Capital, 50 View Street, Bendigo

On 26 October, we’ll be holding a Fair Go Rates system forum in Bendigo. The forum aims to ensure councils are better equipped to meet the community engagement expectations of the Fair Go Rates system.

The forum is open to all Victorian council staff and councillors and will include:

  • updates from agencies on public participation and community engagement at the state level
  • discussions on engaging on long-term financial planning and trade-offs, connecting engagement to decision-making, and doing it all on a budget
  • opportunities to hear from councils who have been through the higher cap application process.

Email us to register

To register for this forum, email localgovernment@esc.vic.gov.au.

Please specify if you have any dietary, accessibility or other requirements.

View the forum program.

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Essential Services Commission