Regional Victorians have been hit with another rude wake-up call in recent weeks as soaring annual rates notices land in letter boxes.
Victorians need an urgent solution as rate payers and hardworking families are being unfairly asked to foot the bill for Local Government funding inequities.
The Nationals have played a leading role in securing a parliamentary inquiry into Local Government funding and service delivery as regional councils buckle under increasing financial pressure.
Ultimately, the Andrews Labor Government needs to provide regional councils with the adequate funding if they are picking up the slack left by the state government.
Regional rate payers are struggling to keep up with escalating costs, and local councils equally struggle to continue to maintain service delivery. The entire funding model needs to be reviewed to ease the strain.
Our local councils, particularly in regional areas, face significant challenges to manage their service delivery objectives under the Labor Government.
Those councils under strain are being pushed to do more with less amid Labor’s funding cuts, which makes it harder to manage basic responsibilities like rubbish collection and road maintenance.
There is one very stark example: The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) estimates $1 billion is needed for post-flood roads reconstruction, yet the government has only provided $165 million.
The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) has estimated that councils can maintain only 65 per cent of roads in their jurisdictions.
Put simply, the Andrews Labor Government needs to stand up, take responsibility, and raise the funds provided to Local Governments.
The key inquiry will deliver recommendations to the Government by June 30 next year.
So, the heat is on. It’s time the Labor Government chipped in and stopped asking regional rate payers to absorb the pain for its incompetence.
Peter Walsh MP
Leader of The Nationals