A pox on both their houses - Canberra's rate rises

Kurrajong candidate Linda Spier gives her views in her typically forthrightly independent fashion

Rates are too high in the ACT. But at last the government’s calling this tax what it is: Land Value Tax.

Governments of both persuasions have turned thief. They extort rates to pay not only for municipal services but anything else that takes their fancy and I use that word extort deliberately. The word as defined in the Oxford dictionary

“to get money from persons with force, threats or importunity.”

The ACT government’s threat is a fine if you don’t pay up.

Over the past three years most ratepayers have seen huge increases in the region of thirty percent with no relief in sight. Andrew Barr lamented that he could only increase rates 7% this year because it was an election year.

This begs the question how much would he have increased them if it wasn’t an election year? One can only speculate that it would have been his usual 10%.

Canberra’s ludicrously high rates are much higher than Sydney. Rates paid in Campbell on a small block are higher than rates on Sydney harbour.

Rates have gone from 18% of revenue to 27% in the last five years. This is approaching a third of all revenue raised in Canberra and not everyone pays rates. This means the crippling burden falls on the same people year after year.

Governments are addicted to rates and their greed knows no bounds.

Unlimited rate increases cause hardship. The lack of certainty creates anxiety as ratepayers don’t know if they can pay their next bill. Extortionate Rates are forcing people out of their homes and or going without heating.

This rot must stop. Rates must be frozen for the next 2 years. After that they must capped in line with CPI as they are in neighbouring NSW. The capping of rates must be set in LAW so as prevent governments reverting to their greedy old ways. Governments must be accountable.

This free for all must stop and ratepayers given a break from legalised theft.

Ratepayers are sitting ducks. Not only do we pay more than our fair share of running this Territory we are easy targets for new taxes or levies. Levies are creeping into our rates bills. We now have two, the emergency services levy and the newest levy for domestic violence. These are good things but why just ratepayers? Why not everyone in Canberra? 

It would be just as easy to put these levies onto electricity bills.

Older ratepayers in inner Canberra have lost the most ground in recent years.

They have suffered three major hits. First the value of their land has increased, second the rate in the dollar has increased and third people on the old age pension’s rebate has been slashed from 50% to a flat $780.

Finally, bulky waste removal. Why not make this available to everyone as it is in Sydney? Right now this practice is highly discriminatory.

When it comes to extortionate rate increases there is no difference between Liberal and Labor governments, except to say that Labor is greedier and has got much better at it. Furthermore, Andrew Barr boasts about increasing rates.

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You can contact our convener Richard Farmer at 0450 735918

6 Lads Place, Dunlop ACT 2615

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