New council rates rules released

NEW rules to govern how local governments increase rates on certain properties, such as  pokies venues or derelict sites, were released for discussion on Monday.  

Local Government Minister Jeanette Powell launched the Draft Guidelines to Differential Rates in Beveridge, about 50km north of Melbourne, on Monday afternoon.

The state government now has powers to stop local governments from charging differential rates that do not conform to the draft guidelines.

The minister also can not order councils to use differential rates.

Local governments such as Moreland City Council have put higher rates on electronic gaming venues and used the extra funds to pay for gambling help.

Darebin also charges landlords of pokies venues more, and charges owners of vacant land more as an encouragement to develop.

The draft guidelines will be out for public comment, and a full release will be available in time for councils to make their 2013/14 budgets. 

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