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When is a Rate Cap not a Rate Cap? – When it’s a Waste Charge.

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Mr MORRIS (Mornington) — This government went to the 2014 election with an explicit promise to cap rates. Like so many other Labor promises, this one was not worth the paper it was written on.

Labor promised to limit rate increases to CPI, but between March 2015 and March 2018 the CPI has gone up by 6.9 per cent. Rates in the same period are up by 11 per cent, almost twice CPI.

Promise delivered? I do not think so.

Does the so-called rate cap cover all council charges? Apparently not. During the recent estimates hearings the Minister for Local Government confirmed that assistance given to local councils to help with recycling arrangements would expire on 30 June. No more money will be forthcoming.

From 1 July councils will have the opportunity, in the words of the bureaucracy, to ‘reset charges’. In my language that is a rate hike, but apparently it will not be a rate hike because waste charges, according to the government, are not rates.

Whether it is a rate or whether it is a charge, it is still a tax, and it comes out of the pockets of long-suffering ratepayers.

I do not blame councils, and I understand they are the meat in the sandwich. They have been left out to dry by this government, forced to rely on an export market because of this government’s failure to encourage local reprocessing of recyclables.

That is why households and businesses pay a tax of $64.30 a tonne to encourage appropriate local responses to resource recovery. The government is happy to take the tax but to give nothing in return.

That is a promise they did not make, but it is one I guarantee they will keep.

Legislative Assembly 19 June 2018