This in no way is intended to offend anyone, but I would like to start a conversation and see if like-minded people in local government agree.
To be honest, small rural and regional councils are in need of better access to funding and are continually advocating state and federal government representatives to achieve this.
As much as we try to cater for our community through revenue raised by rates, this doesn’t cover everything. We watch as money is handed out and look at some of the causes, wondering what the results will be. Will it make a long-standing difference, or is it just a quick fix?
Rural Councils Victoria chairman Rob Gersh, who does a wonderful job as the spokesman for smaller shires, has summed up the situation well, stating: “With small ratepayer populations, limited sources of revenue and thousands of kilometres of roads to maintain, rural councils are struggling to manage extensive road and bridge infrastructure.”
Rural Victoria still has roads that are not acceptable for school buses, farmers or visitors to travel on. We need more road funding, almost as a basic human right.
Over many years, I have sat through meetings where we are told we are not sustainable. Numerous reports have been commissioned by the government into the sustainability of local government, and they are still true today. We need better access to funding allocation for operational services – this would elevate some of the sustainability issues we face.
Ararat is currently in a great space with some of our services.
We do have jobs, so we need people to fill these positions. These are really good jobs with a future.
In recent times, the metro papers have highlighted the suffering we experience in the rural areas at the hands of droughts, floods and bushfires.
One is beginning a campaign “Fair Go For The Bush’, with one simple aim – to end the gross inequity and stop regional Victorians from being ripped off.
Congratulations to Mr Gersh and all involved in Rural Councils Victoria for advocating so strongly for our communities.