RATING strategies would be periodically reviewed by councils under new recommendations by the Victorian Auditor General.
In an at-times scathing report last week on ratings practices in Victoria, the Auditor General called for regular rating strategy reviews and better communication with ratepayers on rating decisions.
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Municipal Association of Victoria chief executive Rob Spence said it was unclear at this stage what, if any, impact regular rating reviews would have on country councils or on the farm rate.
The report said councils worked within a rating framework but there was a lack of clarity, detail and direction that also didn't cover recent changes to the Act. "This has contributed to inconsistencies in the rating practices of councils and the quality and soundness of council rating decisions," it said.
"The Department of Planning and Community Development does not proactively support or guide councils and cannot (assure) that the legislation is being applied by councils as required.
"The rating strategy guide provides some useful guidance in applying the rating sections of the Act but has some deficiencies. It has not been updated since 2004 and does not adequately reflect current council best practice or current legislative requirements."
The report also said "the reporting of rates and charges data should be improved and standardised so that it is used consistently across all municipalities and ratepayers and the general community can readily interpret the data".
Mr Spence said the MAV welcomed any measures to improve the current system, calling the recommendations "all constructive".
"We certainly support the recommendations surrounding the level of transparency and engagement between councils and the community when setting structures about rates," Mr Spence said.
"The report doesn't imply there are any inaccuracies in the calculations, it's really ensuring there is a review of how you conduct your rates across the board."