The Victorian Government has established the Fair Go Rates System (FGRS), which is a framework limiting the maximum amount councils may increase rates in a year without seeking additional approvals.
Rate capping has been 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’ and ‘to ensure that a Council has the financial capacity to perform its duties and functions and exercise its powers’.
Each year the Minister for Local Government (the Minister) will set the rate cap that will specify the maximum increase in councils’ rates and charges for the forthcoming financial year. The Minister has the capacity to set a cap that applies to all councils, a group of councils or a single council. The rate cap set by the Minister for 2016-17 is 2.5 per cent for all councils.
In circumstances where the rate cap is insufficient for a specific council’s needs, it can apply to the Essential Services Commission for a higher cap. The Commission will be receiving applications for a higher cap from councils for 2016-17 from 1 February to 31 March 2016. Applications will be published on the Commission’s website upon receipt.
The Commission will endeavour to notify councils of its decision in respect of an application within two months of receipt. All Commission decisions will be made public, including a statement of reasons explaining the decision. The Commission anticipates all decisions being completed by 31 May 2016.
The Commission has published a media release with the list of councils that have notified the Commission of their intention to apply for a rate increase higher than the cap of 2.5 per cent set by the Minister for 2016-17. Click here to view media release.
Under the FGRS, the Commission is responsible for:
- providing advice to the Minister on the annual rate cap
- assessing council applications for a higher cap
- accepting or rejecting council applications for a higher cap
- monitoring and reporting annually on councils’ compliance with the cap or approved higher cap
- monitoring and reporting biennially on the overall outcomes in the sector arising from the FGRS, and
- issuing guidance materials and guidelines on the implementation and administration of the FGRS
Publications for this project are listed below.
- City of Ballarat – Application for Higher Rate Cap (3)
- Murrindindi Shire Council – Application for Higher Rate Cap (4)
- Pyrenees Shire Council – Application for Higher Rate Cap (3)
- Moorabool Shire Council – Application for Higher Rate Cap (5)
- City of Greater Geelong – Application for Higher Rate Cap (2)
- Wyndham City Council – Application for Higher Rate Cap (2)
- Horsham Rural City Council – Application for Higher Rate Cap (5)
- Towong Shire Council – Application for Higher Rate Cap (5)
- Buloke Shire Council – Application for Higher Rate Cap (2)
- City of Casey – Application for Higher Rate Cap (4)
- Guidance and Information Requirements (4)
- Fact Sheets (6)