MP Simon Ramsay: Rates model cops ‘outdated’ label

By Sumeyya Ilanbey

Western Victorian MP Simon Ramsay has called for a review of rate assessments as councils issue rates notices to landowners.

Melton council has revealed property prices in the municipality have increased an average of 34 per cent since 2016.

While the council is permitted to increase its total rate income by 2.25 per cent under the rate-capped environment, ratepayers whose property value increase by more than 34 per cent will see a rates increase above 2.25 per cent.

Properties that have increased less than 34 per cent in value will incur increases of less than 2.25 per cent.

Melton finance manager Sam Rumoro said it was important to note that rate caps did not exist for individual rates notices.

“Just because [the] value of your property increases, it does not necessarily mean your rates bill will increase,” he said. “In fact, the dollar figure may still decrease in some instances.

“Council advises ratepayers via its rates notice how rates are calculated, the revised capital improved value on the property and the new rate charges applicable to each property. Council is happy to answer any questions from ratepayers regarding their property valuations.”

But Mr Ramsay has labelled the current method of collecting rates as “outdated”, arguing in state Parliament last week there needed to be new systems for charging rates and funding councils.

“The current system of rating is outdated and based on 19th century English methodology which focused on farmers and landowners,”
Mr Ramsay said. He said the shifting of programs and costs from other tiers of government also needed to be recognised.

Mr Ramsay was highly critical of applying the same rates model to regional and metropolitan councils. He said regional councils were often larger in land mass, but had fewer ratepayers.

Moorabool council was contacted for comment.