Yarra Council budget woes

For more than a decade Yarra Council has jacked up rates every year by the rate of inflation plus about 2% extra. These rate increases have been extremely difficult for residents on low or fixed incomes. Knowing this, I have voted consistently against these above inflation rate rises. While councils need to collect rates to provide services, the money raised has often been wasted on high executive salaries, unnecessary consultant fees and new buildings for council management.

Now this will all change. The State government is forcing all councils keep rates to the rate of inflation. This year expect Labor and Greens to announce the sell off of council assets, cuts vital services and increases in fees, charges and fines. They will be looking to make up for lost revenue by shaking down residents.

As an alternative, I will be arguing for a no cuts budget, further investment in infrastructure for our growing population. This can be achieved by cutting wasteful spending in the council bureaucracy and borrowing if necessary, as interest rates are low. To stop the flood of cuts on the way we need to unite council staff and our communities throughout the state in a fight to save local government services and jobs.

– Councillor Stephen Jolly

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