Subba Reddy Yarram, Brian Dollery and Carolyn Tran
In our recent article in Policy & Politics, we examine the impact of a ‘cap’ on property taxes in the local government system of the Australian state of Victoria. ‘Fair Go rate capping’ was introduced in Victoria from 1 July 2016. Prior to this, general rates charged by local councils in Victoria had grown by an annual average of 6% over a 10 year period. Under the Fair Go policy, the Minister for Local Government sets a maximum permissible rate increase on the advice of the Victorian Essential Services Commission. The actual rates cap was set at 2% for 2016-17 and 2.5% for 2017-18 based on the forecast Consumer Price Index.
In principle, the rate caps limit the ability of local councils to raise revenue required to fund their ongoing operations, often in the hope that this will stimulate increased operational efficiency. In our article, we empirically investigated two main questions: What were the short-term impacts of the Fair Go rate capping on different types of municipal expenditure? Did Fair Go rate capping have a differential impact on the different categories of Victorian local councils? Analysis of these questions can shed light how best to frame local government policy tailored to accommodate different categories of local council facing different expenditure constraints. Continue reading →
Brisbane, Queensland’s capital city, did not escape this natural disaster. By the second week of January, residents and business owners in low-lying suburbs were caught off-guard as a flood moved rapidly down the Brisbane River. They hastily evacuated what possessions they could, then watched with a sense of disbelief as muddy waters rose through their streets and two days later receded. When they could return to their water and mud sodden homes, and began to pick through the chaos of destroyed belongings, the true extent of the emergency became real for many.
In the days that followed, flood waters were replaced by floods of citizen-volunteers who gathered spontaneously in affected Continue reading →
We all know that the sea is a dangerous place and should be treated with respect but it seems that Australian politicians have taken things a step (possibly even a leap) further. From sharks to asylum seekers the political response appears way out of line with the scale of the risk.
In the United Kingdom the name Matthew Flinders will rarely generate even a glint of recognition, whereas in Australia Captain Matthew Flinders (1774-1814) is (almost) a household name. My namesake was not only the intrepid explorer who first circumnavigated and mapped the continent of Australia but he is also a distant relative whose name I carry with great pride. But having spent the past month acquainting myself with Australian politics I can’t help wonder how my ancestor would have felt about what has become of the country he did so much to put on the map. Continue reading →