Social housing proposal flawed

Knox City Council has described the Victorian Government’s proposal to exempt itself from paying rates on social housing properties as bad policy.

Mayor Cr Susan Laukens said once again the ratepayers of Knox are being asked to pick up the bill for services that the state government is clearly responsible for.

“There is a critical shortage in social and affordable housing, and the Victorian Government should be commended for finally taking action to address the historic underinvestment in social housing,” Cr Laukens said .

“But this policy is short sighted. The needs of people accessing social housing don’t just end with a roof over their heads. They need ongoing support from local services which are funded by rates.

“Over the next 10 years this will rip more than $16.7 million out of services and facilities which our community relies on. This includes things like our libraries, playgrounds, club rooms and change rooms, our parks and bike paths.

“While its own tax take is projected to grow at almost 7% per year over the next four years, the Victorian Government has capped increases in rates at 1.75% next year.

“With one hand the government limits what we can raise ourselves, and with the other hand it takes away the very means for Council to provide the services our community needs.

“For all the rhetoric surrounding partnerships to deliver the Big Housing Build, the lack of consultation with local government to understand the impacts of this proposal is astounding.

“You can’t keep taking money out of local government and expecting that we can keep up with the real costs of providing more than 100 services,” she said.

Council will write to all government and opposition representatives and independents urging a rethink on the flawed legislation.

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