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Monday, August 20, 2012:

Stop the policy drift

By Andrew Gunter *

MAYOR Jim Cusack, years late, attacks Readings Cinemas, the owner of the Moonee Ponds Market site, for allowing a dust bowl during the drought and a mudbath since.

In attacking Readings Cinemas, the mayor's approach to the issue (is that) he's “playing the man”, not the ball.

The council has had numerous chances to deal with the inherent policy defects of its capital improved value (CIV) rating system, which penalises renovation and rebuilding and rewards land-banking, but has instead resorted to patch-ups with various CIV rate categories.

Of course land-banking owners under CIV are encouraged to demolish and to leave sites vacant or underutilised. Councils that use CIV rating (or its relative, net annual value rating) give those owners lower revaluations and rates cuts for doing so. CIV and NAV are designed to work that way. It is disingenuous of public policymakers to deny it, to plead ignorance, to criticise land-banking owners (after encouraging them) or to distract residents and ratepayers with “look-over-there” diversions.

The former Moonee Valley Council commissioners could have stuck with Site Value (SV) rating inherited from Essendon and Keilor councils.

The council can stop this policy drift and return to SV now.


* Letter in the Moonee Valley Leader, Aug.20, 2012, p.24. Emphasis added.

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