Home' Phillip Island and San Remo Advertiser : March 31, 2016 Edition Contents THE ADVERTISER, THURSDAY, MARCH 31, 2016 - PAGE 7
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WONTHAGGI ratepayer Kevin Griffin asked council-
lors during question time at the most recent shire meet-
ing to advise ratepayers on whether they will, in future
years, direct council to work within the rate cap as de-
clared by the Minister, “or will they instead continue to
pursue the excessive rate increases that are currently
stated (4.7%) in the council’s long term financial plan?”
Mayor Cr Jordan Crugnale responded by stating the
decision would be made by the council of the day during
its annual budget process.
In an announcement made last week, the Minister for
Local Government Natalie Hutchins said she has asked
the Essential Services Commission (ESC) in future to
publish its annual rate cap recommendations on an an-
The move is part of the state government’s support
for a Fair Go Rates system that ensures transparency
in decision making and more accountability to the com-
munity, the Minister said.
The ESC recommended a 2.8% cap on rate increases
for the 2016-2017 financial year, based on both the Con-
sumer Price Index (CPI) and Wage Price Index (WPI) or
But in December, Ms Hutchins decided rates would
be capped at 2.5% based solely on CPI, honouring the
Labor Government’s election commitment to tie the cap
In the past year, the Labor Government has introduced
reforms to improve transparency in local government in-
cluding the Know Your Council website, which tracks the
performance of every Victorian council across dozens of
The Labor Government also moved to eliminate am-
biguous councillor ‘ward funds’, where portions of coun-
cil budgets were distributed by individual councillors
without any real oversight.
Ms Hutchins said that she believes local communities
should have all the facts, “so I’m more than happy for the
ESC to publish its recommendations on rate capping”.
“Improving transparency in local government has been
one of our key focuses since coming to office and this
move will further improve that process.”
EXECUTIVE salaries: Wonthaggi resident Kevin Griffin
pointed out during question time at the most recent coun-
cil meeting that feedback from community consultation
sessions, conducted by the shire to ascertain the views of
ratepayers on the state government’s imposition of a 2.5%
rate cap on all municipalities across Victoria, included the
view that council should reduce staff salaries.
“Councillors may perhaps recall the media release is-
sued last year by the Minister which cautioned local
Councils against using the Fair Go rate cap as an excuse
to cut vital staff and services, while they continue to waste
money on excessive executive pay and councillor spend-
ing,” Mr Griffin said.
“At the end of that media release, the Minister was also
quoted as saying that “Councils need to put a stop to over-
the-top executive pay rises and needless waste”, he added.
“Considering the feedback received from our commu-
nity together with the Minister’s comments, will Council
now advise the community as to how it intends to put a
stop to over the top executive pay rises and excessive ex-
ecutive pay?” Mr Griffin queried.
Mayor Cr Jordan Crugnale responded: “The report
Council is considering tonight relates to a decision on
whether or not Council is going to seek a variation to the
rate cap. As indicated in the report Council will consider
all feedback received through the consultation process in
the preparation of the 2016/17 Budget which will be re-
leased for consultation after the Council meeting on April
Long term financial plan
Wonthaggi resident Les Larke lodged the following
question at council’s March meeting.
“The Long Term Financial Plan (Plan) Options A and
B presented to the Community, disclose, on average over
the 10 year period of the Plan, 27.2% (Option A) and
27.5% (Option B) respectively of rates revenue applied
to Capital Works, and in the tenth year still only 29% of
Rates revenue applied to Capital works.
On the other hand, Financial KPI analysis prepared by
an independent consultant (Strategy Plus) discloses the
• BCSC is the lowest performing Council compared
with like size rural Councils and all other Councils State-
wide in respect of capital expenditure as a % of Rates rev-
• Like rural Councils have capital expenditure at 49%
of Rates revenue.
• State-wide Councils have capital expenditure at 46%
of Rates revenue.
“This highlights high operating costs, particularly em-
ployee benefits associated with head office leadership,
middle and lower tier management, project, administra-
tion, support and other non-direct service delivery em-
“How does the BCSC Councillors and Leadership team
propose to address this obvious strategic gap in order to
be similar to or better than like rural Councils and State-
wide Councils in relation to the % of Rates revenue ap-
plied to capital works, with a corresponding quantum
change to its strategic mindset and strategy, and Long
Term Financial Plan outcomes.
In response, Mayor Cr Jordan Crugnale thanked Mr
Larke for highlighting the fact that the level of rate income
available for Council to spend on capital activities is low
in comparison to other large rural councils. Given that
the same report illustrates that Council is the second
most efficient in the delivery of operations per assessment
in that same group, there is clearly a lack of income avail-
able to allocate towards capital activities.
Cr Crugnale said that the Long Term Financial Plan
aims to address that over an extended period.
Question time at
Rate cap debate
AN OFF-DUTY policeman on holiday at
the Newhaven Caravan Park has saved the
life of a 32 year old man, who found him-
self in great difficulty after deciding to jump
from the San Remo-Newhaven Bridge on
Tuesday night, apparently to impress his
Police say the 32 year old man was walk-
ing back across the Phillip Island Bridge
from the San Remo Hotel with friends,
when he decided to jump from the struc-
ture and swim across to the island.
He did not bank on the strong current
at the entrance to Westernport Bay which
started carrying him out to sea.
Things went from bad to worse when the
man started to cramp and suffer from mild
hypothermia in the very cold conditions.
An off-duty policeman staying at the Ne-
whaven Caravan Park heard the man’s
cries for help, stripped off and went to the
Police from Cowes and San Remo, and
local ambulance officers, also raced to the
The air ambulance was dispatched from
Melbourne, but was not needed, and re-
turned to its base.
The man was treated by paramedics on
the beach and conveyed to Wonthaggi Hos-
pital for observation.
Police describe the man’s actions as idi-
otic in the extreme, and say he faces a sub-
stantial fine for his foolishness.
Tinny washed ashore
COWES Police are looking for the owner
of a tinny, in good condition, and complete
with fishing rods and other equipment,
which was found washed ashore in the vi-
cinity of Observation Point, last Friday.
Police say the tinny may even have come
from across the bay.
It can be claimed by its owner at the
Cowes police station.
Man saved after
jumping from bridge
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