Hume rate trend ‘disturbing’

Hume Council (Damjan Janevski). 336543_02

Zoe Moffatt

Hume council has recorded a 60 per cent increase in rates owed since 2020, which a councillor has attributed to the Reserve Bank of Australia’s “apparent desire to crush working people”.

In a meeting on November 27, the council noted the quarterly finance report for the three months to September 30, which detailed an almost $12 million increase in rate arrears from the same time last year.

As of September 30, the value of rates outstanding was $54.50 million and at the same time last year it was $42.75 million.

But when the report was prepared on October 11, the value of the total rate arrears was $37.94 million.

Speaking to this increase, councillor Joseph Haweil said it is a very disturbing and worrying trend.

He said the June 30, 2020 period showed council’s rates arrears were at $17.2 million, and less than two months ago on October 11, the rates arrears was at $37.94 million.

“So in effect [this is] a 60 per cent increase between June 2020 and June 2023,” he said.

“I think in the figures that you see in the report and with some analysis across a number of years, there is a very disturbing and worrying trend that we are seeing playing out in Hume city.

“I want to associate myself… with the many thousands of residents suffering the burden of the crazy economic policy being played out in this country.

“[This is] through the Reserve Bank and its apparent desire to crush working people in order to achieve the economic outcomes it wishes to achieve.”

Cr Haweil said he expects to see the rates arrears trend continue to grow, and he thinks the council “now must enter a phase to play [its] part in inflation reduction”.

“Which is to manage the amount of money we’re putting out there and also to consider what impact infrastructure spending… has had on inflation in this country,“ he said.

“I know there are very very many thousands of families in Hume city that are suffering today. I for one intend to continue raising my voice against this monetary policy in this country.”

An RBA spokesperson said they cannot comment on why the council has increased rates.

In June the then RBA governor Philip Lowe said high inflation is corrosive and damages the economy.

“It erodes the value of money and savings, puts pressure on household budgets, makes it harder for businesses to plan and distorts investment,” he said.

“It makes us all poorer and hurts people on low incomes the most.”