Ratepayer Victoria Updates

Knox ratepayers Assoc public meeting

Where:   Ferntree Gully Bowling Club,
Glenfern Road FTY Melways Map 74  A—5

When:  Saturday 25th of November 2017
Starting at 10am Sharp.

All welcome.

 

Working with the Local Government Inspectorate
Revised Rate Capping Guidance 2017-18
Presentation/Workshop tailor-made to Ratepayers Victoria

Where:   Knox Council Offices, 511 Burwood Hwy,
Wantirna South VIC 3152

When:  Saturday 4 March 2016
1PM-4PM   Starting at 1PM Sharp.

Rates have been capped at 2.0% for 2017-2018 and Essential Services Commission has held workshops with councils about process and what is required for any cap variation. The workshop will provide an understanding of the expectations the Commission has of councils when they apply for a higher cap. Of particular interest is the requirement for legitimate consultation.

Complaints to the Inspectorate are many times rejected causing much frustration to ratepayers and residents.  The IBAC presentation will be customized to this issue and you will have a better view of how to use the inspectorate to insure results.

These presentations will make it easier to monitor the performance of councils and help take corrective actions and get results when necessary.

DO NOT MISS THIS OPPORTUNITY! Reserve your place for this conference
Email: ratepayersvictoria@outlook.com
Seating is limited so make sure to RSVP B4 25.2.16
Ratepayers Victoria, inc. (A004092M)

Thursday 10 November 2016
Here is the link to Ratepayers Victoria Association’s updated Executive Team following the recent AGM for your information.
Congratulations to Chan Cheah for becoming the current President. We are positive your energy will be a tremendous asset for RPA.
Listed as well are 6 strategic wins, which makes good reading.
Please click here.

Saturday 22 October 2016
Knox Ratepayers have spoken with a new candidate for Knox Council Elections in the Dinsdale Ward on the 22nd October 2016, Robert Williams and consider that he is a highly suitable candidate. His policies fit into the principles of the Knox Ratepayers Charter and as such KRA does endorse Robert and KRA wishes him well in the coming elections.

Friday 14 October 2016
Knox Ratepayers have interviewed two candidates who are standing for Knox Council Elections in the Tirhatuan Ward  on the 22nd October 2016, Nicole Seymour and Hyma Vulpala and consider that both of them are appropriate  candidates. The policies  of both these candidates fit into the principles of the Knox Ratepayers Charter and as such KRA does endorse them both.
KRA wish them both well in the coming elections.

Wednesday 12 October 2016
Upcoming Knox Council Elections – Click on the following to see which candidates are recommended by Ratepayers Victoria.

October Elections – RPV Recommendations

Monday 30th November 2015 – Rate Capping Bill Passed
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The rate capping bill was passed on Friday 27th November. This is a great first win for all Victorian ratepayers this year. This policy will now become law under the current LG Act arrangement and will continue in the next version of the LG Act when it will be reformed before the next state election. Well done everyone for supporting this policy to go ahead. A small win, but a major first milestone for ratepayers achieving  the first benefit from LG reforms.

Ratepayers have to be more diligent now, as there will be strong resistance by Councils who will be collectively resolved to apply for rate variations. They will artfully maneuver community engagement to  “visibly” claim rate raises are wanted by their communities for more/new services and facilities. We have already seen evidence of change responding tactics emerging before the bill was passed – see. Since we posted that blog, we heard from our ratepayers networks that more cities are activating similar activities.  Councils cannot just lure their communities into wanting more and new facilities and services without going through the appropriate policy compliance requirements, and call such maneuvered community engagement activities policy compliant, in order to warrant a case for varying rates.

In the new year, RV will shared information about the proper compliant procedures that councils have to demonstrate to indicate a quality community engagement has been exercised to support their cases for capped rate variation. Wait for more information about this in the new year. In the meantime, keep close watch on your councils about community engagement matters and other participatory budget activities to foster/support varying away from capped rates.

The rate capping policy win is a great Christmas present for ratepayers. We gratefully thank Minister Hutchins and her crew, ESC and LGV for making this happen. We also like to extend our appreciation to the opposition Shadow LG Minister Davis and other MPS, who put aside their political differences in the interest of all Victorian ratepayers first, and supported the bill to be passed.

Ratepayers Victoria Update – 12 October 2015

Knox Ratepayers Association have a representative on the committee of Ratepayers Victoria Incorporated (RPV).

To you the ratepayers of Knox, we will keep you up to date with the latest from Ratepayers Victoria Inc. (RPV).

RPV have organised a Seminar of all Ratepayer groups from around Victoria to be held at the Mulgrave Club on Saturday 14th November 2015 at 10.00am. This is a first for Ratepayers Victoria.

The Local Government minister, Natalie Hutchins, has accepted the invitation to be a guest speaker at the Seminar. Spokesperson from RPV, Dr. Chan Cheah, is organising the speakers for the Seminar.

One very interesting speaker is the new CEO, Carl Cowie, from Mornington Council. Carl commenced employment at Mornington last December and previously, was employed in the private sector. In this time he has made changes that have saved Mornington Ratepayers several million dollars. He has moved on surplus staff and has gone out to the private sector to acquire Council insurance saving some $700,000. In recent times it has been noted that 6 or 7 local councils in Victoria have advertised for CEOs from within the private sector. RPV hope this trend continues at other councils in Victoria. I am sure the Minister will be interested to hear Carl speak as to how he has made these changes in such a short time and to have saved ratepayers so much money.

RPV are working with this Local Government to assist them to implement the election promise to cap rates. Huge council rate increases have been going on all too long and it is great to see this government put the brakes on these huge increases.

A committee member from RPV has been meeting with the Local Government people to assist them with their endeavours to rewrite part on the Local government Act. It would seem that there has been little change to the Act since 1989. At present this is the document that councils operate under. It is most unclear and many parts of the Act can be interpreted many ways. Some CEOs and their Officers from Councils in Victoria apparently interpret the Act to suit their purpose. The Act has to be improved in order that it is written and understood as a clear document for the layman. If there are parts of the Local Government Act that you are not happy with, please contact KRA and we will   put in submissions on your behalf. This is your chance to have a say.

As a ratepayer group, we would like to point out that we have to work with the Government in power regardless, it is the Government in power that will make changes that will make councils more accountable, not us ratepayer groups. Our position is to make suggestions or recommendations to the Government in power, so we are always looking for constructive ideas as to how to make our state a better place to live.
Cheerio,
Frank Sullivan.

Frank’s State Government Meeting re New Website

Frank Sullivan, patriarch of the Knox Ratepayers Association has been invited be the state government to assist with a new website to help make getting information about ratepayer’s rights easier in dealing with councils. A small panel were invited to assist and we believe these are great steps towards local government reform and look forward to more to come. Following here is Frank’s report of this new undertaking.
The conference on Friday 9th May went very well, learnt a lot and I felt very privileged to be involved with this mission,  as there were only four groups invited to participate in it.
The review of Council operations that was started last year and chaired by retired Federal Minister Petro Georgiou has been completed and is now been tabled in State Parliament.
KRA attended 4 meetings regarding this review, so we hope some good comes out of the report for the ratepayers.
The main purpose of this meeting was to get a website started for ratepayers to be informed on what is happening at councils.
Some of the main items that came out as a start were:

  • Councils Reports
  • Compare councils
  • Performance reports
  • Feedback

It will be compulsory for all Councils in Victoria to input into the website.
I asked the person who presided over the meeting, Amelia  Chapman, Manager Sector Performance, how correct or reliable was the information that councils would input  in to the website and she said all information would  be subject  to audit from the Auditor General of Victoria. Amelia is looking for any constructive data that would help the website .It was also said at the meeting that the website has to be simple and easily understood.
Amelia said that they hope to have the website up and running by 1st July 2015.
It will take a few years for councils information input for the ratepayer to see how good or bad their council is going.

Cheerio
Frank

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