The Petition of certain citizens of the State of Victoria draws to the attention of the Legislative Council that the Government has created municipal councils to service the needs of their communities. Despite the rigour and precision applied in determining councils and their boundaries, substantial geographic, demographic, and economic differences exist, and will always exist, between them. These inherent structural characteristics such as population size, population density and community income levels are externally imposed and virtually beyond Council control. These factors determine capacity to raise revenue and contain costs (sustainable capacity) and have a substantial impact on council financial sustainability. It is widely acknowledged that metropolitan and large regional councils have greater financial capacity to meet their service needs because they possess the geographic and economic capacities and community income levels to support them. Conversely most rural municipalities, particularly the smaller, more remote, rural councils experience the greatest difficulty in doing so. They have been forced to cope in two ways: by greatly increasing rate levels of communities less able to afford them, and by reducing service standards because of the much higher costs they incur to deliver them. The result is that ratepayers in rural municipalities pay substantially more for properties that are worth substantially less than their metropolitan counterparts. This is a major economic injustice. Long term, recurrent grants are required to assist in flattening this imbalance.The petitioners therefore request that the Legislative Council call on the Government to take action to address the imbalance in the capacity of rural councils to service the needs of their communities, thereby lessening the difference in sustainable capacity between rural and metropolitan councils.
By Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) (1255 signatures).
Laid on table.