The Essential Services Commission has approved applications from three councils for rate rises above the 2 per cent rate cap set by the Minister for Local Government for 2017-18. One council’s application was not approved.
The commission approved applications from Hindmarsh, Towong and West Wimmera councils however Queenscliffe’s application was not approved because it did not adequately demonstrate a long-term funding need. A fifth council, Pyrenees had its application approved in May.
Commission chairman Ron Ben-David says the approved applicants provided analysis that demonstrated a long-term financial need.
“We have approved applications only where there is a clear financial need and a demonstrated commitment shown by councils to working with their communities on assessing the need for the rate increases they’re proposing.
“We are satisfied these councils have taken steps to improve revenue and reduce costs to ensure when higher caps are sought, they are kept as low as possible,” he said.
Commission guidelines require applications to demonstrate good, long-term financial planning.
“In the case of Queenscliffe, while we recognise the efforts put in by the council, we were not satisfied the application demonstrated a long-term funding need.
“It’s important to remember that there is a clear need for extra fu ate increases tend to last forever, so we only approve them when ding on an ongoing basis,” said Dr Ben-David.
In November, the commission will report publicly on councils’ compliance with either the cap set by the Minister for Local Government (2 per cent increase) or the higher rate caps approved by the commission (where applicable).