Fact check: are Port Phillip rates excessive?

Some people - particularly on social media - claim that the rates charged to property owners in the City of Port Phillip are excessively high. They use the claim that our rates are much higher than they should be, and higher in comparison to neighbouring or similar municipalities, as the basis of their entire election pitch to you, the voter.
 
So, to be fair to everyone, let's check the FACTS. ARE Port Phillip rates excessive?

 

Councils across Victoria are required to report their average residential rates in their Annual Reports and these are compared and monitored by the Office of Local Government.

The figures in the table below show clearly that, on average, residential rates in Port Phillip are not only the lowest of surrounding Councils, (Glen Eira, Stonnington and Bayside) in 2019, but have been consistently the lowest over the last four years.

This indicates that residential property owners in Port Phillip pay consistently less in rates than those in the surrounding Councils of Glen Eira, Stonnington and Bayside.

And it’s really important to note residential property rates in Port Phillip include the cost of waste collection, whereas the other three Councils charge an additional levy.

Council

Average Residential Rates Per Property

 

 

 

2016

$

2017

$

2018

$

2019

$

Port Phillip

1434

1429

1502

1544

Glen Eira

1485

1521

1542

1597

Stonnington

1608

1632

1652

1668

Bayside

1896

1928

1983

2095

Source: https://knowyourcouncil.vic.gov.au/ Victorian Government Office of Local Government: Authoritative information about Victoria's 79 Councils

Rates are set based on property values

Property values have long been used as a proxy for wealth, and rates are effectively a property tax. Like other taxes such as income and business taxes the higher the value the higher the tax. Unlike these other taxes though, tax evasion of rate charges is impossible.

Since 2018 residential property valuations are set annually not by Councils but by the Victorian Government’s Valuer General. Revaluations do not themselves determine Councils’ revenue which is set through their budget process.  A revaluation simply reapportions the rate charge between properties – properties with higher valuations will pay more than properties where valuations are lower.  Annual valuations, rather than every two years, are expected to improve equity and transparency in the distribution of rates.

Port Phillip’s rate in the dollar was 0.042642 in 2015/16 and is currently 0.037139.

Rate discounts are available for low income residents

Rebates are available to assist the rate burden for residential owners. A Victorian Government rebate is available for holders of pensioner concession cards, and in addition Port Phillip is one of the few Councils offering an additional rebate. This year Port Phillip has introduced an Economic and Social Recovery Program to provide additional rate relief for those who need it most. Other forms of assistance from Port Phillip include rate deferments and rebates on rate interest charges. See here for information about all the assistance available: http://www.portphillip.vic.gov.au/rate-concessions-and-deferment.htm