Rate rise of 3.5%

File photograph



A RATE hike of 3.5 per cent – the maximum under the state government cap – and a huge surplus are the main points from the proposed Latrobe City Council draft budget.

Council met on Monday, April 3 to approve the public release of the 2023/24 annual Latrobe City Budget Draft.

In the budget, council confirmed a 3.5 per cent increase in overall rates and charges. Waste charges have also increased and are set to rise by $12.50 (three per cent) per standard set of three bins. This increase incorporates the state government landfill levy due to inflation and increased cost of waste processing.

Before December 31 each year, the Minister for Local Government sets the local council rate cap for the next financial year. The rate cap is the maximum amount a council can increase general rates and municipal charges. The state government announced council rate cap rises of up to 3.5 per cent last year. All councils are expected to use the full extent of the rate rise.

Carried unanimously, the motion was passed to allow the public to scrutinise the proposed financial plan.

Councillor Darren Howe said: “Each year we go through this [budget] process and it’s never an easy process.”

At council, Cr Dale Harriman explained the reason behind the rise in charges.

“The increases for the waste charges incorporate the increase in the state government landfill levy imposed on councils. It is one of many state government charges imposed on a council that we have to pass on to ratepayers,” he said.

The year’s budget predicts an operating surplus of $7.5 million, off the back of a $150.9 million total revenue, $92.1 million of which would come from the rise in rates and charges.

The draft budget also includes the capital works program, consisting of a $43.8 million investment in projects across the Latrobe Valley.

Capital works include upgrading the Marshalls Rd/Traralgon-Maffra Rd intersection, flood recovery projects, completion of Stage 1 of the Gippsland Logistics Precinct, and new energy projects that support the region’s economic transition.

As this budget is still in draft, council will allow public submissions for a month starting from April 4 until May 5 2023. Council encourages the community to voice their concerns and opinions.

Cr Graeme Middlemiss, speaking to the gallery, encouraged the public to take a hard look at the proposed budget.

“Basically you will see where every cent that this council takes in is spent, where all your money goes and what services you get in return, and this will give you an opportunity to comment on that,” he said.

The budget will be adopted by June 30.

For information or to make a submission, visit: yoursay.latrobe.vic.gov.au/budget

Hard copies of the draft budget are available for viewing at council service centres.

Council service centres are located in Morwell, Traralgon, Moe and Churchill.

For locations, visit council’s website.

Anyone who makes a submission will be provided the opportunity to speak to their submission at a council meeting on Monday, May 15.