Mildura Weekly : Friday March 28 2014 Vol 8 No 21
Mildura Weekly – 28/03/14 3 www.milduraphonebook.com.au By BEN PISCIONERI MILDURA Rural City Council has set a date to release the find- ings of the most comprehensive review of rating system in more than a decade. A Special Council Meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 16, when the Draft Rating Strat- egy will be released, paving the way for at least two weeks of pub- lic comment. The date was decided yes- terday and followed mounting pressure to release the strategy when it emerged earlier this week that it hadn’t been tabled for last night’s monthly Council meeting as expected. The release of the strategy next month follows an exhaus- tive analysis of both the local municipality as well as numer- ous Councils and Shires outside the district Feedback from more than 100 Sunraysia residents who partici- pated in one-on-one interviews with independent consultants late last year was also fed into the draft strategy. Council chief executive, Mark Henderson, said this week the majority of those residents, not surprisingly, said their rates should be lowered. The landmark review was instigated in the wake of major changes to the rating strategy in last year’s budget, which includ- ed dropping the drainage differ- ential rate as well as changes to the way rates collected from Mil- dura Tourism and Mildura Devel- opment Corporation would be distributed. Mr Henderson, explained earlier this week the delay in re- leasing the document was due to the amount of information and analysis that needed to be con- sidered, stressing it was crucial to get the draft strategy right before it was released. The review included an ex- tensive benchmarking process, which analysed other regional cities and shires and compared them to Mildura. A comprehensive capacity-to- pay analysis was also carried out by specialists who used Austra- lian Bureau of Statistics data to compare household and busi- ness incomes in Mildura to other Councils. Mr Henderson said this pro- vided an idea of what other Councils were charging and resi- dents’ ability to pay their rates. The delay in releasing the strategy has drawn criticism from some ratepayers, including many farmers, who’ve had to deal with 12.5 percent rate hikes. The hefty rate rise led to calls last year from dryland farmers for a differential rate, including a push by both the Victorian Farm- ers Federation and Mildura Rural City Councillor Greg Brown. Mr Henderson said this week it would be difficult to distin- guish between dryland farming and irrigation farming, making the introduction of a farming dif- ferential rate problematic. A Council spokesperson said once comments from the two weeks of public consultation were considered, the final docu- ment would go to Council’s May meeting, providing two or three weeks for those comments to be considered. The Draft Rating Strategy will be the basis for future revenue raising from rateable properties in the municipality for the next five years. Mr Henderson said a similar review would be conducted every year five years. Date set for the release of Draft Rating Strategy • Mildura Rural City Council chief executive Mark Henderson. ONE of north west Vic- toria’s largest social and family support agencies will soon close down two of its Mildura build- ings as part of moves to consolidate its services into fewer locations. Over the next three months, Mallee Family Care’s Lemon Avenue of- fice, which houses Early Intervention services, and its Vidovic Avenue building, home to Men- tal Health Services, will be closed, and those services moved to MFC’s Eighth Street building. The Eighth Street premises was purchased by MFC several years ago as part of its rescue of disability employer Access Mildura, which was in financial crisis. MFC’s Disability Ser- vices have been based at that location ever since, under the All Star Access banner. Executive director Vernon Knight, RIGHT, said the decision to re- move two buildings from the organisation would provide opera- tional and financial benefits. “We operate numer- ous sites – at last count there were 16 across the region – and that was an approach which reflected our wish to make servic- es accessible and avail- able,” Mr Knight said. “The axiom was that we ought to be within pram-pushing distance of a supermarket be- cause a lot of people who access our services are challenged in terms of access to transport. “Unfortunately this is a costly arrangement and as time has gone on we’ve recognised that it’s probably unsustain- able in the long term. “This doesn’t mean we’re going back to three or four centres, but where we can get some efficiencies through co- location, we ought to look into it.” As part of the reloca- tion, the Vidovic Avenue building, which MFC owns, will be sold, while it will stop leasing the Lemon Avenue offices. Mr Knight said this would provide a raft of savings, including oper- ating cost such as power and water at the two lo- cations as well as rental costs. Proceeds from the sale of the Vidovic Ave- nue building meanwhile will pay off debt MFC in- herited when it rescued Access Mildura, which had about $150,000 in unpaid debts. By June, MFC’s Men- tal Health, Early Inter- vention and Disabil- ity Services will all be housed under the one roof at the Eighth Street building, which will be refurbished as part of the move. Mallee Family Care services reshuffle Show and Shine for a good cause A PASSIONATE group of Red Cliffs car enthusi- asts has unveiled plans for a car show later this year – not only to put on a display of pristine vehicles, but also to help support a friend bat- tling breast cancer. The Red Cliffs Show and Shine, originally to be held on April 5, will now be held on May 3, and is expected to feature up to 60 vehicles covering Australian and American-based cars, including a host of tough muscle cars. Organising committee member, Bree Ee- rden, said it was hoped the event would be- come an annual show, helping someone in need each year. This year’s recipient will be Lyn White, who is fighting a rare form of breast cancer. More information about the Red Cliffs Show and Shine, including times and a loca- tion will be published closer to the event. CONTACT 1300 765 589 | (03) 5024 4700 | www.maa.vic.edu.au | firstname.lastname@example.org 41 Ninth Street, MILDURA Government funding available to eligible students CONTACT 1300 765 589 | (03) NOWTAKINGEXPRESSIONSOFINTERESTFOR... Non slew crane Licence Dogging Licence EWP Licence Delivering in partnership with: GRAND RE ~ OPENING A BIT of MAGIC Remember Mrs Dell’s Lolly Shop on the corner of Tenth Street & Desroy Avenue? STEP BACK IN TIME TO THE GOOD OL’DAYS & A TOUCH OF YESTERYEAR IMPORTED UK SWEETS BOILED SWEETS JUBES CHOCOLATES LICORICE LOLLYPOPS RASPBERRY UMBRELLAS ROSEY APPLES HUMBUGS NZ LINES Prices start at ~ 5 cents 227 Tenth Street MILDURA Call 0400 017 387 GRAND RE OPENINGABIT f MAGIC GRAND RE-OPENING SATURDAY 29th MARCH @ 10am CATALOGUE OUT NOW!
Friday March 21 2014 Vol 8 No 20
Friday April 4 2014 Vol 8 No 22