A new report released by the state’s economic regulator has revealed that all 79 Victorian councils kept their rates at or below the level set by the cap amount for 2023-24, which came into effect in July.
The Essential Services Commission monitors and reports on Victorian councils’ compliance with the rate caps under the Fair Go Rates system.
Under the system, the Minister for Local Government sets the average rate cap each year. Councils must keep their rate increases within the cap, or seek approval to increase average rates above the cap.
The commission’s Executive Director, Price Monitoring and Regulation, Marcus Crudden, says all councils complied with the rate cap in 2023-24.
“For the third year running, we’ve seen all councils increase their rates within the cap, which was 3.50 per cent in 2023-24. Eight councils increased their rates less than the rate cap, with those councils’ increases ranging from 2.00 per cent to 3.25 per cent. Ararat Rural City Council did not increase their rates.”
The eight councils that budgeted for a rate increase below the cap are Maribyrnong, Melton, Mildura, Port Phillip, Strathbogie, Wangaratta, Warrnambool and Wodonga.
While waste service rates and charges are not included in the rate cap, the commission monitors and reports on councils that change the structure of their service rates and charges.
There was an increase in waste service charges in 2023-24, with the cost to councils to deliver waste services also increasing. Fourteen councils introduced new waste service rates or charges, with councils budgeting an average annual increase of 16.7 per cent per rateable property.