[By Sue Bolton] Last night I voted against the Moreland budget. Previously, I have consistently voted against budgets with rate rises greater than CPI. This is because rates are a very inequitable means of funding councils. Rates are a regressive so that you can have the old aged pensioner paying living beside a millionaire and paying the same rates. Rates aren’t progressive like income tax is. I believe that rates should be on a scale according to your income.
Now that the state government has capped rates at CPI, councils across Victoria are increasing fees and charges well above CPI.
Last night’s Moreland budget increased many fees and charges above the CPI. Many Home and Community Care services will rise well above CPI (eg. Community Transport by 21%). These increases will effect the least well off. Fees at Leisure Centres will rise above CPI as well as many other fees.
What we have in Australia, is a system where the federal government cuts funding to the states and then the states and federal government cut funding to local councils. Each tier of government is trying to force the lower level of government to implement the neoliberal cuts. While the big corporations get away without paying any tax, or very little tax and usually get big handouts from various levels of government as well.
Local councils should be waging a big political campaign against state and federal government for the massive cuts to local council budgets, while expecting local councils to fund more and more of the services that the state and federal governments are cutting.