Council receives request from Minister on proposed waste service charge
Thursday 11 May 2017
11 May 2017
The Minister for Local Government has requested Yarra Council review its proposed waste service charge to ensure compliance with both the Local Government Act and the Essential Services Commission’s (ESC) Fair Go Rates System Guidelines.
The Minister, in a letter to Yarra Mayor Cr Amanda Stone, referenced the ESC guidelines indicating that any increase in revenue from service charges should be matched by a reduction in general rate revenue in the first year.
The Minister’s request follows on from Council writing to the Minister and the ESC in April explaining Council’s proposal for a waste service charge and welcoming engagement on the matter prior to a council decision on June 6 2017.
Council also sought and received legal advice that its proposal adheres to the Local Government Act.
The ESC advice to the Minister does not challenge the legality of Yarra’s proposal under the Local Government Act but instead reflects the ‘spirit of the law’ in relation to rate capping.
The ESC acknowledged and welcomed Council’s efforts to consult with the community about the introduction of the proposed waste service charge.
In doing so the ESC said it appeared Council had not fully demonstrated the need for the additional $8.5 million to be collected under general rates as a result of the introduction of the new charge. It also stated the concept of revenue neutrality appeared not to have been taken into account.
Yarra Mayor Cr Amanda Stone acknowledged the Minister’s request for Yarra to review its proposal which Council would do when it resolves on the matter, after community consultation, on 6 June 2017.
“The Minister in her correspondence hasn’t ruled out a proposed waste service charge for Yarra, which makes sense because 73 other Victorian Councils already have a waste service charge in some form,” Cr Stone said.
“What the Minister has indicated is that she wants Council to review the proposal so that if we were to proceed (after community consultation) the proposed waste service charge complies with both the Act and the ESC guidelines.”
Cr Stone said Council had legal advice that its proposal complied with the Act but said in regards to the ESC’s reference to the ‘spirit of the law’ there was no legal definition for this which meant it was not very clear for local government.
Cr Stone said Council was consulting in good faith because it genuinely wanted to hear feedback from the community on this proposal.
“Thank you to everyone who has provided feedback to date which will help Council when it comes to making a decision on this very important issue in early June.”
You can read about Council’s proposal for a waste service charge on Council’s website.
A copy of the ESC advice is available on the ESC website.
Consultation on Council’s draft council plan and budget (including the proposed waste service charge) ends today, Thursday 11 May 2017 after a five week period.
Councillors will be provided with a copy of all submissions.
People who made a submission and who indicated they would like to speak to their submission, will have this opportunity at a Special Council Meeting at 6.30pm on Wednesday 17 May at Richmond Town Hall.
Following this, Council is scheduled to resolve on this matter at an Ordinary Council Meeting at 7pm on Tuesday 6 June 2017 at Richmond Town Hall.
For further information visit www.yoursayyarra.com.au