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Canberra Rates Rant

By breda - 6 October 2013 75

Well, I have just received my latest rates notice, and it is almost $1000 more than last year. This is because I am just above the magical “you are a sponging plutocrat” level of of my land apparently being worth more than $450,000.

I would not mind so much if it was being matched by genuine attempts to rein in over-expenditure, and structural reform. But, every couple of weeks, we see hundreds of thousands of dollars of handouts for no measurable outcome to people who have been encouraged by advertisements to ask for it.  We see millions expended on measures to “Save the Planet”, which on any objective level will do no such thing. At the most trivial level, we see money that others have worked for lavished on “public art” which the public detests.

Meanwhile, at some point in the future, the ACT government promises that structural reform about stamp duties and so on will materialise. But for today, another $1,000 thanks.

That is the action of a government that has no intention of managing spending, but is glad to take extra revenue when the opportunity arises.

What’s Your opinion?


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75 Responses to
Canberra Rates Rant
milkman 7:48 am 07 Oct 13

HiddenDragon said :

It’s early days yet, but in time, I think more people will have second thoughts about the increasing emphasis on rates as a source of revenue for the ACT Government, and will come to look more closely at how their money is being spent – which would be a healthy development for democracy in this town.

Even if the majority, or a substantial minority, are protected from substantial increases in their rates, the further slowing, or even reduction in federal spending in Canberra (with an obvious impact on the incomes of many households) will make more people more conscious of even modest increases in living costs.

Local govt doesn’t change their tax take much based on property values dropping, they effectively work out how much rates revenue they want and then work out a taxable value of each $1000 worth of land in their jurisdiction. If land value increases or decreases across the board they will just change the rate.

One of the difficulties with the land tax approach is that it favours the young at the expense of the elderly, in that retirees with homes in desirable areas tend to get hit with far higher taxes even if their homes, and means, are modest.

djk 2:25 am 07 Oct 13

“Meanwhile, at some point in the future, the ACT government promises that structural reform about stamp duties and so on will materialise.”

They have already started reducing stamp duty.

Also, isn’t this a bit like whingeing about getting a promotion which pushes you into a higher tax bracket?

HiddenDragon 11:12 pm 06 Oct 13

It’s early days yet, but in time, I think more people will have second thoughts about the increasing emphasis on rates as a source of revenue for the ACT Government, and will come to look more closely at how their money is being spent – which would be a healthy development for democracy in this town.

Even if the majority, or a substantial minority, are protected from substantial increases in their rates, the further slowing, or even reduction in federal spending in Canberra (with an obvious impact on the incomes of many households) will make more people more conscious of even modest increases in living costs.

Holden Caulfield 9:29 pm 06 Oct 13

You should be happy, rates were supposed to triple! 😉

Madam Cholet 7:55 pm 06 Oct 13

Well I think a $1000 increase in one year is quite large, regardless of the value of the land. Some people are homeless, but the OP will be a taxpayer who makes contributions at least to the Government (and maybe to charity also), who strive to help these people, so I’m not sure anyone should tell him not to whinge on the basis that someone somewhere is having a worse time. Yes, it might be a first world problem, but it’s his and he or she may have other worries to also contend with that you know nothing of.

I don’t support the whinge in quite the way it was written but I’d be a bit tee’d off if I opened my rates to find this level of increase.

Silentforce 7:14 pm 06 Oct 13

I agree with “breda” that to pay extra for the government to waste our money on unnecessary litigation, defences to litigation, over the top human rights compliance, accountants, quantity surveyors who can’t count and monopoly corporations who blow out publicly funded projects; and do not address the homeless and mentally ill voters (yes, they and their supporters vote too) is rude. The government should call a spade a spade and impose a separate ‘stuff up tax’ to be transparent on the amount of their financial waste we being imposed to pay.

Pause to think of older residents still in good health who are retired that bought their house and land in “the next new suburb along.” They raised families, paid off their mortgage and retired not knowing their property would jackpot and become unaffordable to live in and maintain due to the Government’s policy of not rating blocks on the actual cost of maintaining public infrastructure around it, but on the market value.

Labor has used Canberra and its residents as guinea pigs for various forms of social engineering. Sounds like a form of Elder Abuse for people caught in this situation.

banco 6:56 pm 06 Oct 13

Typical hipster leftie Canberrans “you should be grateful for whatever the Government leaves you of your income”.

Deref 5:59 pm 06 Oct 13

The basis of equitable taxation is that it should be progressive – i.e. linked to a person’s ability to pay.

Income tax is (at least to degree) progressive – it increases as income increases (don’t start me on the rorts that make income tax voluntary for the wealthy). The GST, by comparison, is regressive: it’s a flat tax, so it falls more heavily on the poor than on the wealthy.

Rates, as they’re calculated in the ACT at least, are worse than a flat tax – they’re based on two entirely fictitious concepts: a) land “values” and b) that someone whose land “value” is higher than someone else’s is more able to pay a higher amount. This is worse than bullshit.

In my previous (more than modest) dwelling, I lived next to a pensioner couple who had lived in the area since they were young marrieds and the area was very much a “low rent” district. Because that area suddenly became attractive to parasitic developers, the “value” of their land increased dramatically, so their rates followed suit. Eventually they had no option but to sell up to the parasites and move out of the home they’d loved since they were young. Tragically, and understandably, they didn’t live long after that.

I have no idea where breda lives or what his/her income may be. But the basis of rates is an abomination.

I have no problems with paying taxes – on the contrary – but the only fair basis of taxation is ability to pay. If breda’s income has increased commensurately with his/her income, then let him/her suck it up. If not, his/her complaint is fully justified.

The basis of rates needs an urgent overhaul.

Masquara 5:47 pm 06 Oct 13

homoincognitus said :

Same, stop whingeing. You have a home and security. From the increase you mention you are in a high value land and property area. If cash flow is a problem, sell up, size down and take the probably tax free capital gain.
Also Masquara, you seem to paint all public housing tenants with the same brush, and current public housing tenant talking now, the 6 month declaration is for the preceding 6 months income, not the last fortnight. And my view is that’s its a small minority of tenants who have the ability to rort the system.
And another thing while I’m here, small wage working tenants ( under $50,0000 gross) who are still occupying 3 beddies cannot size down in the public system because they have to re-qualify under the current income limits, which means you have to be virtually unemployed. There is no such mechanism with Housing as a voluntary downsize under your existing circumstances.

Yes that’s why I said “in some cases” …

milkman 5:30 pm 06 Oct 13

…I would not mind so much if it was being matched by genuine attempts to rein in over-expenditure, and structural reform…

You realise this is the ACT government we’re talking about here, right…?

Oh, and +1 to arescarti.

homoincognitus 5:28 pm 06 Oct 13

Same, stop whingeing. You have a home and security. From the increase you mention you are in a high value land and property area. If cash flow is a problem, sell up, size down and take the probably tax free capital gain.
Also Masquara, you seem to paint all public housing tenants with the same brush, and current public housing tenant talking now, the 6 month declaration is for the preceding 6 months income, not the last fortnight. And my view is that’s its a small minority of tenants who have the ability to rort the system.
And another thing while I’m here, small wage working tenants ( under $50,0000 gross) who are still occupying 3 beddies cannot size down in the public system because they have to re-qualify under the current income limits, which means you have to be virtually unemployed. There is no such mechanism with Housing as a voluntary downsize under your existing circumstances.

arescarti42 4:30 pm 06 Oct 13

poetix said :

Stop whingeing. Some people are homeless. Others pay ridiculous rents. Enjoy your security and be thankful.

If I ever really whinge about rates can someone take me out and shoot me?
Thanks.

+1

Stop bitching.

An additional $1000 levied on your land is a massive 0.2% of its value, one fifth of a percent.

If it were up to me rates would be more like 2-3% of the value of your land.

Consider yourself lucky.

goody658 4:19 pm 06 Oct 13

Just curious but what suburb are you in. Don’t have to answer if you don’t like but that’s a pretty decent land value.

Masquara 4:14 pm 06 Oct 13

poetix said :

Stop whingeing. Some people are homeless. Others pay ridiculous rents. Enjoy your security and be thankful.

If I ever really whinge about rates can someone take me out and shoot me?
Thanks.

Breda’s rates are, though, subsidising public housing tenants who in some cases are paying $50 a week for inner north three-beddies while on undeclared incomes – either back-pocket incomes plus welfare, or contract work that conveniently ceases for the “declaration fortnight” every six months … which you’d have to say ratepayers should be allowed to find rather annoying.

poetix 3:44 pm 06 Oct 13

Stop whingeing. Some people are homeless. Others pay ridiculous rents. Enjoy your security and be thankful.

If I ever really whinge about rates can someone take me out and shoot me?
Thanks.

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