Municipal rates: Are we being overcharged?
Just received my annual rates notice – just the 9.1 per cent increase for me this year, notwithstanding the apparent state government’s 3.5 per cent cap.
It is not clear to me how the cap can be met when the dollar rate is increased by 7.55 per cent. Perhaps someone could explain, as the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council’s website and employees certainly could not?
The glossy brochure I received along with my rates bill entitled Your rates explained, boasts that “Our shire has the eighth lowest rates in Victoria out of 79 councils”, a statistic presumably intended as a means to convince the ratepayer that 9 per cent increases could be worse and thereby become more palatable.
Given that the satisfaction rating of our council (due largely to a fusion of dysfunctional, elected councillors with heavy-handed, unelected bureaucrats, in my opinion) is apparently the second lowest in the state, perhaps we are being significantly overcharged?
Jonathan Atherton, Tyabb
Equality in law
Since it is a fairly standard response from advocates of the proposed euphemistically named Voice to Parliament, I was not surprised to be accused of racism after publication of my letter (“Approach with logic” 22/8/23). But I must admit to being a little bemused to find someone believes my first point, “Aborigines are people …” and my second point, that the ancestors of Aboriginals and of non-Aboriginals have been on this planet for the same length of time, to be “irrational” (“Injustices ignored” Letters 29/8/23). Two more points for consideration:
- It was revealed on the ABC TV’s The Drum program a few days ago by an attendee at the Uluru meeting that the “signatories” of the Statement from the Heart did not sign the statement at all. They signed a blank sheet of paper, and the statement was entered afterwards.
- The shorter life expectancy and the higher incarceration rate of citizens who claim to be Indigenous is often cited as evidence of the need for a Voice. However, in the general population the life expectancy of men is years less than the life expectancy of women, the suicide rate of men is higher, and the jail population is overwhelmingly male. These facts are not considered to be evidence of the need for a male Voice.
I enthusiastically voted Yes in the 1967 referendum because I believe our Aboriginal relatives to be just as good as me, and I believe in equality before the law. I will be voting No in the 2023 referendum for the same reasons.
Albert Riley, Mornington
It is essential to listen to the voices of First Nations people if we want to improve their living conditions.
Fairness should be the guiding principle rather than race.
Some oppose agreements with Indigenous peoples. Do they genuinely believe that the government should not seek input from First Nations on issues that directly affect them?
Such comments are dismissive of the Indigenous community and their concerns.
Anne Kruger, Rye
The upcoming Indigenous Voice to Parliament referendum is a Sliding doors moment in Australia’s history.
I believe the Australian voting public has two choices at this referendum:
Voting Yes for a new Australian form of apartheid, where a small section of Australians is given special government sanctioned preference based on race, with the accompanying division and racial tension that goes with it as the rest of the Australian population misses out.
Or voting No to keep the current egalitarian society that has developed in Australia where everyone is equal before the law regardless of race.
If the Yes vote gets up – I believe the new Australian apartheid that it creates will be permanent, as it will be set in stone in the Australian constitution. It can’t be changed by parliament, only by another referendum.
The fact that we have woke corporate executives splashing shareholders’ money in support of the Yes campaign should already make you think twice about supporting it.
These companies don’t have our best interests at heart. They just want to cosy up to the government so they can make more money.
Just look at the favours Qantas has been receiving from the Albanese government of late, and all the advertising Qantas is doing for the Yes campaign in return.
We owe it to our children and grandchildren to vote No to ensure that they grow up in an Australia that is not divided by skin colour or ethnic origin, so they have the same opportunities we’ve had.
Matt Eggleston, West Perth WA
The Federal Health Minister Mark Butler has been spruiking how much people will save by getting 60-day prescriptions. Many people with chronic illness (a) are on multiple medications and (b) are concession card holders.
The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) offers a safety net to all patients. It cuts in at 36 scripts for concession card holders and a similar number for those paying the full cost of scripts.
The coverage is per family, so it is not hard to reach for an older couple.
By way of example, a family with a concession card currently having seven scripts dispensed each month would reach the safety net cutoff in June. If all those scripts became 60-day versions the safety net would be reached in November. They would pay $262.80 in either case, a saving of $0.
Our doctor charges just $10 to issue a script renewal whether it be one or more, so negligible savings there if he does a bunch at the same time. The picture is similar for those paying the full price for dispensing.
So, it does seem that the changes will make next to no difference to a large section of the community suffering chronic illness, but it will save the government money at the expense of the pharmacist.
Jack Wheeler, Mornington
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