Opinion

Letters to the editor

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March 08, 2018

Too many snouts in the trough?

- Julie Reed, Shepparton

Recently when going through old newspaper cuttings I came across an interesting article written by John Roskam ( Institute of Public Affairs executive director) published in the Sunday Herald Sun March 11, 2012.

Under the heading ‘Should Local Government Be Scrapped?’ Mr Roskam says a larger number of smaller councils would mean better services and lower rates.

He goes on to say:

Councillors and staff are out of touch with ratepayers because they are too big.

Bigger councils mean higher rates, more waste and more money spent on bureaucratic nit-picking. When Jeff Kennett merged 210 councils into 79 councils almost 20 years ago, the idea was that bigger councils would save money and rates would be lower.

This has not happened, instead councils have a whole host of things a long way removed from the real concerns of residents.

The priority of councils should be roads, rubbish and recreational facilities.

Councils have become so big that councillors have lost control of operations and budgets. He goes on to say the most important person at a council is not the mayor — it is the CEO. Bureaucrats whose job it is to prevent the ratepayers elected representatives from having an oversight of operations.

Councils provide essential services; they are the lifeblood of communities. But these days they are too often out of touch with residents. A larger number of smaller councils would mean better services and lower rates for Victorians.

In another article, Herald Sun writer Liam Houlihan says councils should stick to fixing footpaths, doing planning and emptying bins.

‘‘Councils are now blatantly thumbing their noses at the ratepayers who bankroll them and who they are supposedly there to serve,’’ Mr Houlihan said.

It is time to call last drinks for the snouts in the trough. The state bureaucracy can handle planning, footpaths and wheelie bins and Victorians can handle a little tax relief in the form of the abolition of rates Mr Houlihan said.

In view of the controversy surrounding Greater Shepparton City Council and over-the-top spending (SAM) the comments above sum it up completely!

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