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Welcome to Ratepayers Victoria Incorporated, advocating for Collaboration, Accountability & Transparency. Our 2022 vision is a future where Victorian ratepayers are highly connected, value adding and  engaging to increase their councils’ and state agencies’ propensity to achieve higher council rates affordability and local liveability. Our blog highlights the latest news and issues affecting ratepayers. Visit our Facebook.

Our costly council

Our Costly Councils
Rachel Clayton Heraldsun 2/10/18
Melbourne Councillors are claiming tens of thousands of dollars in expenses
Some councils claim expenses totaling almost $100,000 in one year, analysis of annual reports and published expense report shows.
Port Phillips nine Councillors claimed almost $100,000 in a year—more than 31 times the sum of just over $3000 that was claimed by Monash’s 11 Councillors.
The local government act allows for the reimbursement of Councillors reasonable out of pocket expenses, incurred carrying out council duties.
Melbourne metropolitan councillors were paid an annual allowance of from $8490 to $30,223 and mayors were paid from $60,442 to $96,534.
Three Port Phillip Councillors claimed over $23,000 for child care and family care expenses the mayor , Cr Bernadine Voss claimed $10,593.48 Cr Tim Baxter $5536.84 and Cr Marcus Pearl $6894.50.
Cr Voss said many of her duties had to be performed after hours, making childcare arrangements often essential.
Ratepayers Victoria vice president Frank Sullivan said he had no faith in the system meant to keep councils accountable.
He wants the Auditor General to follow South Australia’s lead and scrutinise how ratepayer’s cash is spent.
“There’s little to no accountability on the control of those expenses,” he said. “At the end of the day the poor old ratepayer is the one who has to pay.” MR Sullivan said.
In 2016,a parliamentary inquiry found no “over site” of council audit, a lack of independence and work quality concerns.
Councillors at Maribyrnong Council, the third smallest municipality by area claimed $80,071.21 in a year.
Maribyrnong Mayor Catherine Cummings claimed $16,880 for childcare and Cr Cuc Lam claimed $11,884 On top of this Cr Cumming received an allowance of $76,521 and Cr Lam received $24,730.
Casey Councillors spent $75,493 in the past year to June 2017. Mayor Sam Aziz claimed $30,984. Including $15,635 on a car and travel. $9065 on communications, and $6285 on training and education.
Casey government manager Holly De Kretser said Cr AZIZ was entitled to a vehicle for council business.
Training expenses went on coaching services, professional membership and media training.
Minister for local government Marlene Kairouz said she expected councils to be transparent about expenses.

Comment (But not accountable)

MAKE RATEPAYERS VOTE COUNT AT THE NOVEMBER STATE ELECTION

MAKE RATEPAYERS VOTE COUNT AT THE NOVEMBER STATE ELECTION

Dear Member

Ratepayers Victoria is a non party political organisation and for practical and limited resource reasons we will not be endorsing candidates for the Victorian state election to be held on Saturday 24 November 2018.

However we encourage our members and member groups to carefully consider candidates. Depending on your own incorporation rules individual ratepayer groups may consider endorsing candidates.

Some of the matters that candidates should be requested to support include:

• The continuation of capping of council rates. Since the introduction of capping of rates the average increase has dropped by one third from 6% annually to around 2.5%
whoever council rate account has increased due to the increases in other charges like Fire Levee / Garbage/ Residential rate on capital improved value
• Site Value which is a TAX same tax by state government, you are paying Twice

• That the proposed new Local Government Act be thoroughly reviewed by an independent parliamentary inquiry. Ratepayers Victoria is concerned that while there are some
improvements, the proposed Act contains many sections which are poorly written and benefit Councils instead of ratepayers. The government refused to incorporate any of our
suggested improvements.

• If successful the candidate and political party should be prepared to be accessible and when requested meet with ratepayers and ratepayer groups. Initially the Local
Government Minister was accessible to Ratepayers Victoria which gave us high expectations that our concerns would be addressed. However the newly appointed Local Government
Minister has not been accessible by refusing to meet with Ratepayers Victoria or speak at a ratepayers’ forum.

• For many years complaints by ratepayers to government agencies responsible for overseeing councils has been almost futile. Candidates need to aware of ratepayers concerns
and be willing to support a review and improved re-structuring of these government agencies to provide a simpler, fairer and more responsive resolution of ratepayers’
complaints.

Yours faithfully
Jack Davis
President, Ratepayers Victoria

When is Enough Enough time for Royal Commission

Ratepayers Victoria Inc.
1248 North Road Oakleigh South 3167
Email: ratepayersvic@outlook.com or ph: 0412 238 974
Web site “Ratepayersvic inc.”

When is Enough Enough.
Ratepayers Victoria has been representing ratepayers and residents for over 18 years.
First was council amalgamation what a disaster that turned out to be, now we have rate capping at 2.25% another disaster that is based on property revaluations rates with increases of 50% to 100% are not uncommon.
We receive emails and letters from concerned ratepayers every week complaining that they cannot afford to pay these massive increases. We have listed councils and councillors who are sorting the system (See Ratepayers Victoria website for the list. Council corruption and inappropriate behavior Sexual discrimination, credit card fraud, bribery and fraud with council tenders, councillor’s inappropriate behaviour at council meetings. The list is never ending.
We are aware of a country property owned by the Carter Family that council attempted to compulsory acquire, Ratepayers Victoria wrote to the local government minister in April this year and did not get a response. RPV also sent a copy to the Premier of Victoria.
On the 3rd July, 2018 RPV again wrote to the local government minister and expressed our concerns about the Bendigo Council’s decision to compulsorily acquire there farm of some 300 hectares which has been in the family for five generations. Our letter on the 3rd July to the minister was very strong with words such as “how can this happen in Australia and pointed out that at the forth coming State Elections this situation will be brought up. We stated that council decisions such as this, tugs at the heart of fair minded Australians Ratepayers Victoria received a reply from the minister’s office two days later with the comment that the decision is now with the planning minister, Richard Wynne, for a decision
RPV were pleasantly surprised to hear that on Tuesday the 10th July the planning minister announced that he had overturned the decision of the Bendigo Council and that the farm would remain with the Carter family.
This is what can be accomplished by Ratepayers when we unite.
A comment in the AGE 16th September 2018 has the Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten, calling for a national watchdog to be formed to expose corrupt public officials. Ratepayers Victoria have for some years now been calling for an independent watchdog to be put into councils to monitor that the ratepayer’s hard earned money is being spent wisely and within the local government act.
Homes may be sold to pay rates (herald sun 16/9/2018). A Melbourne council has put home owners who fail to pay their rates on notice. It plans to sell up to 153 properties to recoup $1.4 million in debt. Council will now issue a notice of intention to sell or bankrupt the 153 owners.
60 Minutes 16/9/2018. Investigations found that some councils are over valuing properties by up to 40%
Approximately 5 years ago Ratepayers Victoria held a conference. This was attended by Natalie Hutchins the then Minister for Local Government, and she made a comment back then that “the local government system is broken”. How very true this was then and sad to say nothing has changed.
Ratepayers Victoria recently had a meeting with the Auditor General and what came out of that meeting is the lack of accountability, In other words there is no follow up to see if those figures presented to them by councils, are correct or otherwise.
The old council “Spin” has been “we are abiding by the Rate capping system” but it has now been confirmed by the Auditor General that there is no independent evidence that councils are following the rate capping rules. A recent comment made to one of our committee members by the rate manager at a council out in the East was “councils do as they like”. How very true.
A gross example of councillor’s misconduct.
Milvan Muto a former Greater Shepparton City Councillor was found guilty of perverting the course of justice in the County Court and sentenced to eight month’s imprisonment. Prior to the matter appearing before the County Court, Councillor Muto was disqualified from serving as a councillor for four years by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for gross misconduct. Councillor Muto then appealed the VCAT decision to the Supreme Court which dismissed Mr Muto’s application to appeal the VCAT decision as there was insufficient grounds.
This year we have started 6 new rural ratepayers groups and our membership is growing by the day.
We believe it is now time for a Royal Commission into councils throughout Australia. We will be contacting our members and ratepayers to support a petition calling on the Federal Government to take immediate action.
We seek your support it won’t happen without your involvement become a member.
Go to our webpage for an application to join RPV
Jack Davis President Ratepayers Victoria

re the proposed underground

9. LETTER TO THE EDITOR
re the proposed underground

Letter to the editor

So the State Government has come up with a grand plan, uncosted, in the hope of winning votes. Interesting this underground idea. Lets go back 120 + years when our wonderful founding fathers planned Melbourne and pushed the railway lines out in the 1880’s and the houses followed. Of course now they approve the houses way out and the trains never follow. However this circular rail idea is not new. Back then about 120 years ago they decided they needed an outer circle railway and took over land for the venture. Because of costing it died but a lot of the land for it survived and 30 years ago the famous Premier Dick Hamer had the idea of turning the land that still survived for the railway into the Anniversary Trail. And there it is today used by walkers and bike riders from Ashburton through to the river at Kew.
This vote buying grand plan of the State government sounds great but is beyond our ability financially and technically. Think of the unforgiveable mess they are making of this little bit of tunnel they are currently attempting. The obvious thing to do is to ask the worlds experts to take it over. London. Remember London started their underground in 1864 – steam trains. Now they have put through 40 kms of Crossrail from west to east of London. with no mess and in no time and it wont be long and it will be open. They are the worlds experts, bring them in to do the job, that is if the Government has the billions to do it.
Actually I and others think that it would be better for the population to put in super fast trains to the outer towns so the people can live out there and come to Melbourne to work. The Opposition should make this part of their decentralization plan.
Mary Drost

When is enough enough

When is Enough Enough :

30/8/18
Ratepayers Victoria is an organisation established over 17 years ago Jack Davis has been President for about 16 years In all that time we have not received any financial assistance from governments, we rely on Membership Fees, unlike the Municipal Association of Victoria they receive $57 million annually to advise councils.
We are fed up hearing that governments are going to control rate increases to 2.25% Jeff Kennett stated that by amalgamating council we will see cheaper rates.
What a disaster that turned out to be.
Councils should be abiding by the rate capping policy of 2.25% but some councils are coming through the back door to inflict large increases on the ratepayer. An example is that the garbage collection component on your rate notice was included in the general rate component and subject to the rate capping .Now some councils are putting this charge on the rate notice as a separate component which is not subject to the rate cap.
Many Ratepayers are hurting some have lost their homes.
No doubt with State Elections due in November this year ,these huge rate increases which ratepayers have to bear will be a huge factor in deciding who you, the ratepayer considers which party can handle our economy best.
We are seeing Gas and electricity price increases, land taxes, child minding centers, and fire levees just to name a few.
On average 70% of council revenue is paid to staff .and then ratepayers have the extra burden of paying the contractors who actually do the work, In parliament on Thursday 23rd August 2018 ,Liberal minister ,Simon Ramsay, gave a very strong speech to tell the LG Minister that the present rate collection is most unfair and is an ancient system that goes back to the 19th Century .Country people are been treated poorly paying some three or four times in rates that the city people pay and farmers are been treated in an appalling manner. The media report that one farmer a week commits suicide due to financial problems ,how very ,very sad Councils are being treated as a money tree by governments and multinational companies.
All we hear is the talk with no action, hopefully you the ratepayer will talk at the ballot boxes in November at the State Elections. Ratepayers Victoria receive multiple emails weekly from ratepayers who are hurting but who cares, certainly not the Government or service providers.
Councillors were elected to protect and represent ratepayers what a joke they are only there to advance their political careers and enjoy overseas trips visiting sister cities or any other trips they can dream up.
RPV did invite the present Local government Minister to speak at a conference that RPV held last March .Despite two invitations and a phone call the minister did not show RPV the courtesy of a reply.
I was a Council with Monash, the bullying and intimidation sexual harassment and inappropriate use of council funds and inaccurate information at council meeting was unbearable.
I understand why Julie Banks is getting out of politics.

Jack Davis
President RPV

membership application Word

Ratepayers Victoria, Inc. (A0040924M)
Membership Application/Renewal: 1/7/2018 to 30/6/2019
Payable by 30th June, 2018

Name ______________________________________________________

Organization (if relevant) _________________________________________________________

Shire/Council__________________________________________________________________

Address ______________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

Phone _______________________ Mobile _______________________________

E-Mail______________________________________________________________

In the event of my admission to membership, I agree to be bound by the rules of the Association for the time being in force, to pay annual membership dues as determined by the association, and to work cooperatively with the other members.

Signature ___________________________Date

Membership Fees: $10 Pensioners $20 Individuals $40 Organization
Enclosed: $
Additional donation optional $____________________
Cheque/Money Order /Cash or
Bank deposit to : Ratepayers Victoria Inc.
BSB No: 063 855 Account No: 10127765
Whittlesea branch Mail To: The Secretary Ratepayers Victoria Inc. 8/1248 North Road Oakleigh South. 3167

Email: ratepayersvic@outlook.com

CCC uncovers bribery, fraud on big health jobs over 10 years

Nick ButterlyThe West Australian
Friday, 17 August 2018 4:01AM

CCC recommends criminal charges for three former WA Health bureaucrats
0:42 | 7 News Perth
Play Video
CCC recommends criminal charges for three former WA Health bureaucrats
Three former senior WA Health bureaucrats face possible criminal charges after a major investigation uncovered one of the biggest corruption scandals in the State for decade
Former senior WA Health bureaucrats face possible criminal charges after a major investigation uncovered one of the biggest corruption scandals in the State for decades.
The episode has prompted authorities to issue a broad appeal for public servants across government to come forward with information amid concerns contractors may be targeting other departments with corrupt practices.
The Corruption and Crime Commission dropped a bombshell report yesterday, alleging contractors lavished executives at the North Metropolitan Health Service with expensive meals, boozy lunches, overseas travel and even home renovations in return for scoring “tens of millions of dollars” worth of construction work.
Contractors won lucrative business on Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, PathWest, Graylands Hospital, Midland and Joondalup health campuses, as well as work integrating Perth Children’s Hospital with the QEII site in Nedlands.
The CCC called for the prosecution of former NMHS executive director of facilities management John Fullerton, who the agency alleged had engaged in corruption with contractors for “years”.
Mr Fullerton, who took a voluntary redundancy from the department in 2016, was alleged to have had contractors renovate his home and his mother’s home, with fraudulent invoices billed to NMHS to cover a portion of the work.
It is alleged Mr Fullerton was offered or asked for other benefits in return for contracts, including overseas trips, tens of thousands of dollars in lunches and cash.
The CCC also called for the prosecution of Health bureaucrats David Mulligan and Shaun Ensor.
Investigators said Mr Mulligan, former executive director of the Perth Children’s Hospital integration, had arranged for contractors to win tenders to cover cash paid to him directly by Grant Alexander, a project manager to NMHS described as a “middle man” by the CCC.
The report said Mr Ensor, a former acting manager of facilities development, was “groomed” over expensive lunches to favour contractors. Mr Ensor left NMHS this year with a voluntary redundancy.
Health Minister Roger Cook said the Government would seek urgent advice from the State Solicitor’s Office on how to recover severance payments to those named as corrupt. The CCC also called for the prosecution of 10 contractors.
CCC Commissioner John McKechnie noted a number of those contractors performed work for other government departments, and he urged public servants with knowledge of other corrupt behaviour to come forward.
“I wonder if even now if there are heaps of public servants getting on the phone cancelling lunch dates,” Mr McKechnie said.
The CCC report criticised the Health Department, which the CCC had alerted to possible claims of corruption in 2014.
WA Health conducted its own internal investigation, but failed to take action against anyone.
“Warning signs were left unexplored,” the CCC report said. Investigators detailed how contractors had started to seek influence over other bureaucrats after word got out Mr Fullerton was taking a redundancy.
The report said $125,000 was spent on lunches for NMHS employees by contractors over 10 years and more than $150,000 was spent on travel for Mr Fullerton and Mr Mulligan.
“Regular and expensive gifts and gratuities given to some NMHS public officers were bribes,” the CCC said.
“Systematic manipulation of procurement practices was financial fraud.”
The CCC used surveillance and listening devices as part of its investigation and detailed how targets tried to destroy evidence once they discovered they were being watched.
The report said one contractor, Garth Delavale, spent $8600 on meals for Mr Fullerton between 2009 and 2016 at restaurants such as Matilda Bay and Galileo Buona Cucina.
Lunch appointments were always made by Mr Fullerton or his personal assistant, who would send an electronic meeting request. Mr Fullerton would select the alcohol.

August 2018 News letter

Postal address 8/1248 North Road Oakleigh South 3167
Phone 03 9570 6227 Mobile 0412 238 97
Email ; Jack_d@iinet.net.au or ratepayersvic@outlook.com

News Letter August 2018
Ratepayers Victoria has become recognized as the only Ratepayer organization
That speaks and represent 42 community groups across Victoria ( to see list of groups go to our website Ratepayers vic)

Our most recent meeting with Government MP’s was on August 8th 2018
The topic was rate capping.
On Wednesday the 8th August 2018,ratepayers Victoria were invited to speak at a parliamentary hearing into State Government policy to cap local government rates
Minister David Davis chaired the meeting
RPV expressed our concern that the present rate capping system is allowing some councils to charge ratepayers more than the 2.25% rate cap. RPV did point out that the general rate on the rate notice is the only component that is subject to rate capping. RPV did strongly state that the local government minister has to take a strong stand and make all components on the rate notice be subject to the rate cap
An example is that a Melbourne council Knox council in 2016 had their waste service charge included in their general rates ,in 2017 they implemented the waste charge as a separate component which is not subject to rate capping
RPV did point out that the present rate system is most unfair and that country ratepayers are strongly disadvantaged by the present system.70% of our ratepayers live in metropolitan Melbourne.

Some country ratepayers are paying up to three or four times more in their rates than the city ratepayers .Governments are trying ratepayers encourage ratepayers to live in the country areas but RPV ask as to why you would want to do as such when council rates are so high
RPV did discuss that charitable organizations pay no council rates yet farmers who are in drought mode still are hit with normal council rates. RPV strongly consider that farms that are considered drought areas should pay no council rates until their farms return to normal
Chairperson David Davis did point out that country councils used to get a payment of one million dollars from the State Government per year to assist them with the infrastructure costs of their country councils ,but when the State Labor did come to power in 2014 they did scrap this payment .This payment has to be returned to country councils
RPV did discuss the lack of accountability at council level and pointed out that the Federal Government is considering to put “corporate cops “into the banking system to monitor the actions of banks
RPV did mention that we have been trying for the last four years to implement independent monitors in most councils to oversee that ratepayers money is been spent wisely and within the local government act .These monitors would be independent from the local government minister’s office and would be appointed by people from say the Inspectorate, ombudsman, Auditor General, IBAC and so on.
The parliamentary committee did thank RPV for the tireless work they do to support our ratepayers of Victoria.

We have placed on our website Ratepayers vic a list of corrupt action by council’s
For more information contact the President Jack Davis ratepayersvic@outlook.com

Ratepayers Victoria recently opened up a new branch in Bendigo and was asked for advice and assistance by our new branch regarding the Bendigo Council’s plan to compulsorily acquire the farm land of Carter family. RPV did write to the local government minister in April this year and did not get a response .RPV has also sent a copy of that letter to the Premier of Victoria.
On the 3rd July 12, 2018 RPV again wrote to the local government minister and expressed our concerns about the Bendigo Council.s decision to compulsorily acquire the farm land of some 300 hectares which has been in the family for five generations.
Our letter on the 3rd July to the minister was very strong with words such as “how can this happen in Australia” and did point out that at the forth coming State Elections that this situation will be brought up.
We Stated that council decisions such as this, tugs at the heart of fair minded Australians.
RPV did get a reply from the minister’s office two days later with the comment that the decision is now with the planning Minister ,Richard Wynne ,for a decision.
RPV were pleasantly surprised to hear that on Tuesday the 10th July the planning minister announced that he had overturned the decision of the Bendigo Council and that the farm would remain with the Carter family.
RPV are not sure as to what impact we had on the planning ministers decision, but we are very pleased that justice has prevailed for this family.
Jack Davis President Ratepayers vic