I notice some candidates are regurgitating the old concerns about lack of equity, proportionality, in the way rate money collected is expended.
That’s an old chestnut that only serves to ferment discontent within the community.
Councillors must step away from divisive parochialism and act in the interests of the community as a whole.
Every shire has a ‘lead’ town where services and facilities are superior to what’s available in the smaller places.
That, in turn, means money spent on the main town will not always align with equal distribution ideal according to population ratios, etc.
The whole shire benefits from having a main town that provides otherwise unattainable services and facilities – otherwise, money is transported out of the shire to get those services and facilities. Including the multiplier factor, that currently equates to over $1 billion p.a. lost to the shire.
The solution lays in ‘growing the pie’, rather than being overly concerned about the size of your slice.
That means accepting the need for a carefully distributed population increase, resulting in overall strengthening of the rates base.
This was all presented to the later dismissed council in early 2019 – captured in the ‘Growth for Rates Reduction’ plan/strategy document and was ‘embraced’ by them at the May 2019 council meeting. They were dismissed before it was ratified.
Remember, small towns don’t die from having too many people – they die because they have too few people!
The catch is that the administration staff must get on board with this plan/strategy and accept the role of supporting the increased population – without diminishing services – and without dissipating the additional revenue by increasing personnel.
Candidates need to read the ‘Growth for Rates Reduction’ plan/strategy to understand we can do this.
John McCombe, South Gippsland
Action Group member, Leongatha.
Editor: Edited for space.