The Victorian Local Governance Association (VLGA) says there is a ‘triple whammy’ on the way for communities.

The VLGA says hits affecting services, jobs and local democracy are contained in a State Government directive to the Essential Services Commission (ESC)

VLGA President Cr Sebastian Klein said the group will now work with the ESC to ensure that fairness is maintained under the proposed ‘fair rates’ policy.

“Our members have clearly told us that restricting annual rates increases to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) will lead to cuts in services and community infrastructure,” he said.

“You cannot strip funding from councils and reduce their ability to create revenue and still expect the same quality and number of services to be available in the community.

“If we don’t learn from the Kennett era of rate capping, or from the countless experiences New South Wales’ councils, then we are doomed to make the same mistakes,” said Cr Klein.

The VLGA is also concerned that there is more at threat than cuts to services and infrastructure.

“We are equally worried about the likely loss of jobs across both councils and services, and the effect of this – particularly for the local economies of rural and regional communities.

“And of course, having a rate capping policy determined by Spring Street is like Canberra dictating to the State when and how it can raise taxes.

“This proposed policy has the potential to severely undermine local democracy,” said Cr Klein.