25th March 2015

Page 3

Chelsea • Mordialloc • Mentone

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Worldly wise

PATTERSON River Secondary College students and teacher Rashad Seedeen, top right, have written a book called In Our World analysing the hottest topics facing the world today. The book tackles subjects such as violence against women, celebrity culture and privacy, the Ebola crisis and the threat of terrorist group ISIS. See story, Page 7. Picture: Gary Sissons

Cap compromise hope Neil Walker neil@baysidenews.com.au A CONTENTIOUS Andrews government plan to limit council rate rises could mean community services are cut but Kingston Council says it is confident compromise can be reached. As part of its pre-election campaign last year, Labor pledged to limit councils’ rate rises across Victoria

to no more than the annual consumer price index (CPI) increase. The CPI rose by 3 per cent in 201314, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics data. Kingston Council’s rates rose by 4.95 per cent for the same period. Councils across the state, particularly rural councils, are worried about the impact the policy will have on their ability to maintain infrastructure and services at a local level.

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Kingston mayor Cr Geoff Gledhill said council “respects that the government got elected on that mandate” and will “work with the policy parameters they set”. However, the mayor said Local Government Minister Natalie Hutchins had visited council last month and the rates cap policy was discussed. “We had a terrific meeting with the minister. We spent over an hour speaking to her about issues includ-

ing rates capping,” Cr Gledhill said. The state government has tasked the Essential Services Commission with investigating how the rates capping policy can be enforced. Councils will be able to raise their concerns with the ESC as part of the process. Cr Gledhill believed Kingston has “got a very good story to tell in terms of our asset renewal gap and the way we’ve managed finances in King-

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ston over the past couple of council terms”. “I think the terms of reference for the ESC commission indicate they have to come back to the government by about October,” he said. “We said to the minister that we’re more than happy to take the projects that we feel are important and are going to benefit the people of Kingston through that process.” Continued Page 6

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