The Nationals have secured a parliamentary inquiry into local government funding and service delivery.
This inquiry was endorsed by the parliament in the face of strong opposition from the Andrews Government, the Animal Justice Party, and the Legalise Cannabis Party.
Member for Euroa, Annabelle Cleeland, said this inquiry will produce a report providing constructive advice to the government on building a more sustainable future for Victoria’s local councils.
“It’s about more than just looking at council rates, we have to go back to square one and examine the entire funding model for local government,” Ms Cleeland said.
“We need to look at what affects council’s ability to manage core responsibilities like rubbish collection, road maintenance, footpaths and libraries.”
“Victorians are fed up with Labor shifting costs onto local government and forcing ratepayers to pick up the tab.”
“I thank The Nationals in the Upper House, including our local member, Gaelle Broad, for working constructively with the crossbench to ensure this important inquiry will be undertaken.”
Ms Cleeland said this inquiry is necessary in the face of the Andrews Government’s “nothing to see” approach to issues within the sector.
“Labor completely ignored 20 recommendations from their own local rating system review of 2019. They don’t want Victorians to know how badly they manage local government.”
“The local councillors I meet are well intentioned members of their communities trying to do good, and Labor’s ‘nothing to see here’ approach is undermining their efforts.”
“Now, The Nationals will be holding Labor to account in this inquiry.”
The Economy and Infrastructure Committee of the Legislative Council will complete the inquiry and deliver recommendations to the government by 30 June 2024.
Once opened, Ms Cleeland will encourage the community to make submissions to the inquiry and provide further details as they become available.
Motion passed by the Legislative Council on 3 May 2023:
That this House requires the Economy and Infrastructure Committee to inquire into, consider and report, by 30 June 2024, on local government funding and service delivery in Victoria, including but not limited to —
1. the effects of cost shifting from the state and federal governments to local councils in an examination of vertical and horizontal fiscal imbalances;
2. whether local councils are adequately delivering on their core service delivery objectives;
3. the overall revenue structure of local government;
4. whether the existing revenue structure is sustainable and appropriate or if alternative models of funding would be more sustainable and appropriate; and
5. any other related matters.