talking to my council

Discussion in 'The big picture' started by paradisi, Dec 17, 2009.

  1. paradisi

    paradisi Junior Member

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    I've been talking to my council (Sunshine Coast Australia) and suggesting things that need to be changed for their rates systems

    my blog - in my signature- has the same as is here. So what do you think? Is it feasible?? If you think it is a good idea why not write to your local council with similar ideas.

    don't know if I should say it or not, got fairly good reception from a councillor and the mayors office - don't know if they are looking at a life style levy similar to mine or something totally different.

    I think a new rate system or levy system is essential for local councils throughout Australia.

    Here are some of my thoughts on the matter:-

    A levy will be imposed as set out below and a credit to the rate applied by council will be set out as below. The actual amounts are not in my realm of nastiness, maybe $50 per levy point?

    1. Any new house bigger than 100 square metres will be levied 4 levy points per year unless the family buying the house is more than 2 people. 50 square metres per person will be allowed before a levy is imposed.

    2. Any household with more than one car will be levied two levy points per car per year. No exceptions.

    3. Any household with a four wheel drive will be levied two levy points unless the household is a farm. 4WD in suburbia are unnecessary and dangerous and help destroy our suburban roads very quickly.

    4. Any household with an air conditioning system will be levied 4 levy points per year. Air conditioning is a very recent phenomena in Queensland. For the first 130 years the state has existed no one had air conditioning. We survived by building houses that will catch the breeze and planted shade trees to cool the house. Louvred windows and fans were the only cooling necessary. Air conditioners require more coal powered electricity generators to be built, require high voltage power lines to be strung through our suburbs and cause massive noise pollution in their running.

    5. Any household with a pool will levied with 10 levy points per year. Swimming pools use massive amounts of electricity and water and pump chemicals into our rivers and air.

    6. Any house footprint that takes up more than 50% of the block of land will be levied 10 levy points per year for a 60% footprint, 50 levy points per year for 70% footprint, 150 levy points per year for 80% footprint, 500 levy points per year for 90% footprint and 2000 levy points per year for anything above 90% footprint. The house footprint will now include all out buildings, ie garage, shed, verandah, pergola, pool, pool buildings.

    7. Any household with two people living in a building with more than 2 bedrooms will be levied 20 levy points per year for each bedroom not being used.

    8. Building will be banned within 100m of the current high tide mark and less than 10m above sea level. This is because of the state and federal government concerns about sea level rises over the next 80-90 years. No exceptions.

    9. No council work will be undertaken to save buildings, beaches and dune systems from rising sea levels.

    10. Credits. Council will provide rating credits at an amount to be determined for households that have solar power cells, solar hot water, rain water tanks and minimal amounts of grass.
     
  2. ecodharmamark

    ecodharmamark Junior Member

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    G'day paradisi

    Full marks for having a go!

    Some insights from a 'former local government employee':

    Council (local government) is a many-headed beast. The views expressed to you by one councillor may not equate to an overall vote in favour of your policy proposal once the time comes for it to be put to a general vote in the chamber. Ultimately you will need the numbers. Try having the discussion with each individual councillor, and get their responses (in writing, if you can). This way you can 'lever' the views of one against another.

    Within the council corporate structure there exist many competing factors - economic development units (pro-development) verses environmental or sustainable units (pro-sustainability) are just one example. You will eventually need to 'gain the ear' of the individual directors of these units concerning your proposal and, once again if possible, get their responses in writing.

    Then there is 'the wider community', made up from those (the development' industry', for example) that will see your proposal as an economic impost and those (such as yourself) that see it as the only way forward. First try gaining the support of those that are more closely aligned to your ideas (rounding up 'the numbers'), and then only later tackle those that find your ideas unsavoury. 'Town meetings' are an ideal way of doing this. Without gaining 'the numbers' your initial support of just one councillor could very quickly evaporate.

    Concerning the Sunshine Coast Regional Council (SCRC) in particular: I have previously completed some brief research concerning this entity and their 'sustainable development' credentials, and what I have found is not too dissimilar to where many local government areas in Australia currently sit. SCRC currently has an 'overall budget surplus of $4.6m'. So in that regard it is not in too bad a financial position in terms of meeting its revenue (rates) targets. This gives your proposal - in the least - some 'economic' traction.

    SCRC's Corporate Plan states that its overall vision is "...to be Australia's most sustainable region - vibrant, green, diverse." Use this as your platform catch-cry for rates reform. Do not deviate from it. Hold council accountable to their primary vision. Ultimately, you have a hard task ahead of you. Any effort to 'tax' unsustainable development is going to be seen by the development lobby as an attack upon their 'rights'. You must resist this. It will get messy, and you will more than likely come under attack. Probably the best advice I can offer is to get 'the numbers'. At the moment you may be only one person, and you will need to find many other locals that also believe your proposal has merit. Council will listen (and vote accordingly) only if they feel that your proposal will further their (lets face it, 'political') interests. The trick is to make them see 'sustainability' in its holistic form.

    Currently the SCRC Corporate Plan (unconsciously?) lists its priorities for achieving its overall vision with a 'robust economy' heading up the page, and 'ecological sustainability' coming in as number '2' (see: p. 5). You need to convince first your fellow residents that economic sustainability is inherently dependant upon ecological integrity, and then work on convincing ALL of your elected members that if they fail to realise this (and vote accordingly), then their days as councillors are numbered.

    Here in my region, I work both solo and with others in order to 'make change' . It makes for a 'difficult' life, but I would not have it any other way.

    Good luck with your endeavours, Marko.
     
  3. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    I'd vote for you on that platform Paradisi. Maybe you should give Big Bob a run for his money. He'd get puffed trying to get out of his chair....
     
  4. thepoolroom

    thepoolroom Junior Member

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    Even if you're not successful with Council, there are big increases in electricity costs coming down the pipeline that should help encourage people in the direction you're thinking (reduced use of air conditioners, sensible house sizes, etc). Water rates and fuel costs are likely to continue rising, too, so that should help.

    I doubt you could enforce the rules about how many people live in a house, and especially not the one about who uses which bedroom. They're invasive of peoples' privacy and very difficult to police. People will just lie anyway to save a buck. If your plan gets public discussion, you're going to instantly see media reports about people whose children move out or go off to uni who are being forced out of their family home of 30 years because the rates just went up. Media always picks on the worst-sounding scenarios (remember all the GST arguments about what was taxed and what wasn't?).

    The air conditioning rule doesn't take into account how many hours of use the system gets, punishing those who only use it on the worst days of year just as badly as those who use it constantly.

    Existing home owners are going to fight you tooth-and-nail on this. All but the smallest houses stand to pay more rates, and therefore see their property prices tumble. It may be worth toning down the rules for existing structures, and tightening up on new structures.

    I'll be interested to see how you go.
     
  5. derekh

    derekh Junior Member

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    Sorry paradisi,

    I do not concur with your line of thinking. I for one am sick to death of being told what I can and cannot do with my life. As for extra penalties and taxes, like the ETS, we pay sh**loads of tax and get fleeced at every opportunity for little return in the way of services and tangible results. I particularly dislike your 4wd comments, I like in the suburbs but need a 4wd to access my property. Why, because my council will not provide adequate services despite raising my rates by 177%, yes that is correct, after amalgamation.

    I'll stop now before I rant on ......

    regards
    Derek
     
  6. paradisi

    paradisi Junior Member

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    So why should I have to suffer because of your lifestyle choices?

    I have a pool owner as one of my neighbours - we suffer the noise fromthe machinery, the chemical smell from poorly maintained pool, we have power stations being built to cater for their excesses, we have massive powerlines being trolled through our suburb to let them have their pleasantries

    And then they have the hide to whinge about leaves getting in their pool

    why shouldnt they be forced to pay extra to compensate society for their excesses?

    everything I listed are things that should be targetd because they are purely and simply extravagant excesses. why have a 4WD in town? If you have a farm - yep an essential. why have airconditioning in a mild climate? why have massive macmansions to feed your ego and to show that yours is bigger than mine - - psyches do have a great time with big hosues and big cars - there's a name for that envy?? can't quite remeber it - again why should everyone have to suffer for your inadequacies??

    and the you/your isn't personal to you derekh

    house footprints are a shocker - if you don't believe me open google Earth and do a search for Kawana island - every house there was built under old Caloundra City Council rules where the maximum house footprint is 50% - you don't need a surveyor to tell you something is wrong - - there isn't room fro a hills hoist. Kawana Island is where backyard cricket has the rule - over the fence is one and out

    have a rant - thats what this forum is for
     
  7. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    This is almost the exact opposite of NSW SG Planning laws. Pack in as much, on as small a block, as possible.

    Given derekh's reaction do you think it might be better to have a carrot rather than a stick approcach? A positive reward system rather than a punitative one?

    While you are at it, ask why we don't have the USA's and UK's rating system where rates are levevied on the improvemnets and developments on the land, not the land's potetial as indicaed by its zoning. If this occured fewer people would be forced to develop good rural land for housing/industry/malls.
     
  8. kimbo.parker

    kimbo.parker Junior Member

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    i'm with paradisi

    Hello players,

    'Forced'..........I like the cut of paradisi's jib..........it is my brand of confrontation, i come here to hear this inspiring talk.

    'have a rant'.......you remember you said that "P"

    and 'P', well done man!........i for one are indebted to the foot soldiers in this tribe.....it means I can have a break knowing that 'the company' are on the job.

    regards,
    Kimbo
     
  9. Don Hansford

    Don Hansford Junior Member

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    Re: point 3; I need a 4wd for my Permy work -( not to mention you just lost the vote of most school mums - that brat-race needs a big vehicle!)

    Re: point 6; We are now seeing the phenomenon of sub-500 sq/metre housing blocks (in a regional area, no less!). Hence the desire by so-called architects to design houses with no eaves - means you can fit that much more house on a piddly block.

    Re: point 7; There's just me & the missus left here. So the renovations are including adding a fourth bedroom to the house. Why? With grandchildren now arriving, the extra rooms are handy when the kids come to stay, it gives me more places to stack my "stuff", will add to the value of the place when we sell it to finance the farm, and simply because I can!
    There's way too much council interference in day to day living now, don't give them another excuse to lord it over us
     
  10. Mungbeans

    Mungbeans Junior Member

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    The first and, IMHO, major objection to such a scheme would be that it would require the council to conduct what would essentially be a census every year before levying rates. The expense and bureaucracy involved would probably drive smaller regional councils to the wall, if they are not there already. Also, remember what happened when Britain tried to introduce a poll tax?

    Although much of that information is available between several local, state and government departments, the amount of data collection and consolidation required, even if it was politically possible, makes my head spin. And I am an experienced database administrator. Trust me when I say that the standard excel spreadsheet or MS access skills of your average council worker would not cut it.

    Then you have to deal with the law of unintended consequences . Consider the effects of the British Window Tax or the surprising consequences of the Chinese Chopstick Tax. Taxing behaviour does have consequences, but not always the ones you were expecting.
     

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