16 February 2008

Are we getting value for our rate $?

| madocci
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In light of the recent revenue surplus for the ACT government, am I the only rate payer that is wondering what I am actually getting for my rate dollars, and how it compares with other areas around Australia?

My only comparison is relatives who own properties with land values around 8 times higher than mine (Sydney’s eastern suburbs), they pay less than the amount I do in rates per year? How does this figure? They also receive the benefit of lovely street scapes, green waste bins (as obviously no one should have to own a trailer to dispose of grass clippings), quarterly rubbish collection, and excellent parks for children to play in. The way I see it: I have to pay extra for a trash pack or trailer to get rid of green waste; I have to pay large tip fees to get rid of waste quarterly; the parks are not nice places to take children and relax; the recycling is collected once a fortnight and is always so full we need to use the other bin; the local shops are old, unkempt and in desperate need of an update; and the streetscapes are certainly not attractive in the suburbs.

I am willing to admit that my expectations may be too high, and my research base too narrow but: Do you think you get value for money with the amount of money you pay to the local government in the ACT?

I have been unsuccessfully searching online for any comparison information. Anyone know of any research that would be of interest?

One a side note: does the whole ‘green frontage’ policy of the government (not allowing front fences, and therefore not allowing you to use your front yard) seem at odds with the water restriction situation to anyone else?

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No way we get value for money for our rates. We have elected a bunch of financial illiterates, socialists and religious right wingers. We get the government we deserve.

BTW This whole planning approvals thing. What on earth gives the Government the right to tell me what I can or can’t do with my property?
(Don’t tell me the land is only leasehold. That whole thing has been debased to win votes.)

If the ACT Libs were any good, they’d have been all over this like crabs on Limestone Lizzy.

But I’ve not heard more than a whimper on this. 🙁

51modelBloke10:17 am 18 Feb 08

Irrespective of demographics, population base, yada, yada, there is the previous issue raised by Thumper of the ACT budget blowout, which I believe I read whilst in a drunken stuper has now increased to $200M. I believe there was some mention of consideration of reduction of taxes. Fiscal mis-management if you ask me.

Comparing ratings to valuations is never reliable, Madocci. It still costs the same to provide a library etc whether the average value of property is more than a million or $300K. The budget figure needs to be collected from the rate base in existence.

My guess is that, by merging the state/local functions, we should have achieved some efficiencies, but probably haven’t. One reason might be down to size. For example, a relatively small health and education frontline is supported by a back office that may be needed, but is proportionately larger than would be needed in a bigger system.

(On an ACT public expenditure thing, what are the usage rules for the remarkable number of ACT plated cars? If they’re supposed to be for work only, someone should count the plates heading for the coast and Sydney on weekends and doing the weekend shopping and sport. Or is it just a creative part of the package – in which case, many of us are in the wrong job and will shortly be seeking ACT employment).

TECortina 250 deathtrap…. is that the car the cops in the ABC’s “Life on Mars” actually drive fast and slide and skid and look good?

el ......TECortina 250 Deathtrap12:30 am 18 Feb 08


“Oh the inhumanity of it all”

el ......TECortina 250 Deathtrap12:20 am 18 Feb 08

Light zeppelin would be good.

What we really need is a light rail circuit linking all town centres and Bungendore.

Hellllllooooooo (as they say),
have you noticed that you live in a very low-density city?

Not surprisingly, it costs a shed-load for transport, waste-removal, etc., with a wide-spread low-density ‘city’ like Canberra.

Stop whinging about the local Gov’t and take it up with the Feds…it ain’t Stanhope’s fault we are ‘high maintenance’, tell KR about it.

We need Fed assistance…oh yeah, and if you want ot do something about it, make sure Medicare has your ACT address recorded…the Grants Commission uses Medicare data to divvy up the GST revenue.

Been to Tharwa; don’t you mean “micro organism”.

Mike Crowther10:55 pm 16 Feb 08

Tharwa is a good microcosm of economics ACT style. Their school was closed, their link with the rest of the city (the bridge) was condemned and then, their rates went up. One bloke I know had his doubled. I take heart that although my area has nowhere to dump rubbish, someday, I will be able to take the kids to admire a statue of Al Grasby which I helped to pay for.

We have less people living in ACT compared to many of the other states, hence higher rates I believe. But I’ll definitely like to see the recycling bins get collected on a weekly basis, rather than fortnightly. Like madocci, our recycling bin is always too full, and we have to keep our recycling rubbish aside for the next collection.

Where I lived in Melbourne, the local council provided all those things including 6 monthly hard rubbish collection and street-scaping and did it very well. This on a population of about 100,000. Rates were about half to two-thirds of here. There is some cross-subsidation between neighbouring councils with shared facilities like waste disposal, but even so.

My impression is that ALL services here, power, gas, water etc are about double what I used to pay.

I live out in Palerang, I pay more per year than a person on a small suburban block in Canberra, and get ZILCH for it. We don’t have services, and don’t want or need them, mostly. So you have to wonder, what on earth we are getting for our rates? Meanwhile the residents in the shire towns (bungendore, the flat, braidwood etc) expect plenty of services and concrete traffic islands and curbs and all sorts of things, so I guess we rural people can put 2 and 2 together.

As long as we don’t have toll roads, I’m happy

The ACT jurisdiction is ALOT smaller than NSW, the tax base to obtain revenue is narrower hence this is probably the reason why our general rates and land tax is higher in proportion to NSW.

I don’t know about getting value for money, but I reckon we do have some of the best roads in Australia and the majority of Canberra seems to be well kept and very clean in comparison to areas in Sydney.

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