Yet more Council rate increases

A Clayton’s rate increase at Yarra Council
The Yarra City Council is increasing rates for the area’s ratepayers, but at the same time they say they’re not increasing rates. What?! That doesn’t make sense, does it?

In its infinite wisdom, the Yarra Council has decided to charge ratepayers for collecting the rubbish from their kerbside bins. Previously, rubbish collection was covered by the rates charged by the Council. So, now that the rubbish collection is a separate item, it’s not deemed by the Council to be part of their rates. Except that we all know that it is. It’s a Clayton’s rate increase — the rate increase you have when you’re not having a rate increase.

What’s next? Will the Council be sending out separate bills for street lighting, footpath maintenance, road repairs, local library facilities, and public swimming pools? They can increase the local government taxes to billyo, all the while claiming that these new charges are not rates increases.

And politicians wonder why people don’t trust governments. Well, how about not acting dodgy? That would be a good start.

Wasting our money
Of course, one of the big problems with local governments, as with all governments, is their wasting of taxpayer funds. If local councils weren’t throwing around public money like a madman in a food fight, then we wouldn’t have as much of a taxation problem.

Local governments should be sticking to the basics, rather than splashing around money on “modern art” installations in the street, fancy-looking footpaths, and outrageously expensive major building projects — the latter are less designed for function and purpose, than they are for winning accolades for the councillors and architects.

It is a law of economic dynamics that whenever a committee is given a large amount of money to use, it invariably begins to throw money around, splurging funds on matters which are not part of the group’s core functions. When applied to councils and governments, the amount of unnecessary spending is huge.

Before local councils start to increase rates, how about they cut down on frivolous spending instead?

Councils don’t really need overseas trips for mayors, councilors, or administrators; nor do they need fancy food and booze at council gatherings and functions; nor are a wide range of well-funded parties essential. Why should taxpayers have to foot the bill for jet-setting bureaucrats to have overseas trips, or for councillors to stuff their faces with fine food whilst sloshing down glasses of expensive whiskey?

Paying for the propaganda
Also, have you noticed the expensive printing productions that councils are issuing nowadays? Glossy pamphlets, printed in colour, sent to all households and businesses — that’s hundreds of thousands of expensive pamphlets, which could have been printed in black and white for a fraction of the cost (if such printing was even needed in the first place).

Most of the time, these expensive brochures are just council propaganda, touting how good they are, rather than actually giving out necessary and useful information to ratepayers.

Has you ever noticed just how many of the photos in the “free” council brochures and newsletters feature the mayor and councillors? Council propaganda is not about having a photo of a new public building, or of a set of new playground equipment in a local park, it’s about giving free publicity to the existing elected officials, to reaffirm their faces in the minds of the local populace, thus helping to get them elected again. You’re all paying for these propaganda pieces, so that the same officials can back in at election time, so they feed their snouts at the public trough once more.

We don’t need another zero
We don’t need yet another bunch of bureaucrats who are hell-bent on throwing our money away — we could do with fewer of those types of people. When it comes to the wasting of public money, councillors are more zeroes than heroes; indeed, their wastage adds many more zeroes to the public accounts — why spend a hundred dollars, when you can waste a thousand?

All elected officials, and their appointed bureaucrats, should realise that being put in charge of public funds is not a license to throw money away on non-essential and wasteful extraneous matters.

Councils should be made to publish, on the internet, itemised lists of all of their non-core spending, with explanations as to why such expenditure was needed. Doing this might just rein in a lot of the wasteful spending. What’s the bet that the public would be horrified to know what their money is being wasted on? It would be truly amazing to see the amount of money spent on food, booze, and entertainment by each council in the last ten years; the results would be staggering.

Australia needs a real shake-up of all levels of government. We could commence with local governments for a start.

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