The Nationals have secured a parliamentary inquiry into local government funding and service delivery.
The inquiry was endorsed by the parliament in the face of strong opposition from the Andrews Government, Animal Justice Party, and the Legalise Cannabis Party.
The Nationals Member for Shepparton, Kim O’Keeffe, said this inquiry will produce a report in providing constructive advice to the government on building a more sustainable future for Victoria’s local councils.
“More must be done to support councils to provide the services needed in their municipalities and not to be put under financial stress to make that happen and what effects councils’ ability to manage core services to the community, maintenance of assets and having enough funding to maintain local government roads to a safe standard,” Ms O’Keeffe said.
“It is more than just looking at council rates, we have to go back to square one and examine the entire funding for local government in this state.
“Victorians are fed up with the Andrews Government shifting costs onto local councils and forcing ratepayers to pick up the tab as a result.”
“I want to thank The Nationals in the Upper House, particularly Melina Bath, Leader of The Nationals in the Legislative Council and Member for Eastern Victoria as well as Gaelle Broad, The Nationals Member for Northern Victoria, for working constructively with the crossbench ensuring that this important inquiry will be undertaken for Victorians.”
Ms O’Keeffe said this inquiry is necessary in the face of the Andrews Government’s “nothing to see” approach to issues within the sector.
“Labor has completely ignored the 20 recommendations that were handed down from their local rating system review of 2019. It is a testament to how badly they manage local government in this state.”
“As a former Councillor and Mayor, I understand firsthand from my experience, the challenges faced by local government and councils. More needs to be done so councils can provide the adequate level of service to its residents.”
The Economy and Infrastructure Committee of the Legislative Council will complete the inquiry and deliver recommendations to the government by 30 June 2024.
Once the committee’s inquiry opens, Ms O’Keeffe 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 –
- the effects of cost shifting from the state and federal governments to local councils in an examination of vertical and horizontal fiscal imbalances;
- whether local councils are adequately delivering on their core service delivery objectives;
- the overall revenue structure of local government;
- whether the existing revenue structure is sustainable and appropriate or if alternative models of funding would be more sustainable and appropriate; and
- any other related matters