MRI says NO to defiant Councillors challenging DR reform guidelines

The Herald Sun Leader reported today that Monash Councillors “vowed to take Ms Powell on if she decided to block the rate being applied at Tuesday’s council meeting.

At the meeting, Cr Drieberg said she was proud the council was taking a stand, but Oakleigh ward Cr Theo Zographos said he thought the council was making a “huge mistake” continuing to apply the rate.

Monash is believed to be the only council that has tried to continue with the rate for the next financial year… here to read more“.


The State’s DR guidelines aim to reduce complexity and the inconsistent applications of differential rates across all Victorian Councils, which is the right thing to do.

In MRI’s Community Governance Report (3- April), they mentioned that they will NOT support some Councillors’ proposal to challenge the Minister over the Differential Rates (DR) reform guidelines that says DR applications will exclude Electronic Game Machines (EGM).  MRI sent an email to all Councillors to reconsider their stand on this foolish decision. One Councillor sent an abrupt and rude NO reply.

MRI re-emphasized Monash Ratepayers’ stand on this matter in response to the press article:

The Monash Ratepayers Inc (MRI) does not and will not support rebellious Councillors challenging the Minister regarding the exclusion of pokies machines differential rates (DR)  in the reforming DR guidelines.  The community views the legal challenge proposal is an unfounded and knee-jerk reaction to a state wide systematic DR reform that does not support a Monash Council’s legacy operational and administrative decision, which is also contributing to the fragmentation and inconsistency of DR applications in Victorian Councils.

 The decision to pursue this Ministry challenge was developed “on the fly” hours before and even during the last Council meeting. This means there has been NO proper legislative research and cost-benefit impact analysis, including impact on budget plans. Ratepayers will not fund such a reactive and unfounded endeavor that also reflects the bipartisan political conflicts and game being played by some Councillors regarding State and Federal decisions. Council is NOT the place for such bipartisan conflicts and debates.

 The loud & clear message to all our rebellious Councillors – MONASH RATEPAYERS WILL NOT SUPPORT YOU TO CHALLENGE THE MINISTER!!!”

The key reasons MRI does not support the defiant Councillors’ decision is they did not address the following important matters in their debates:

  • The costs of such legal challenge and whether these costs are out-of-budget expenditures;
  • The administration time and hence in-house costs of people in correcting the non-compliance in budget management systems should Council lose the legal case or when the State Government enforce mandatory compliance;
  • Details of other viable funding strategies and evaluation criteria to show best value selection of the first, second, etc preference of solution alternatives;
  • Well founded details of how the Monash EGM DR program fulfils the State DR Guidelines’ objectives;
  • Specifications of KPI measures to prove viable and tangible benefits would be delivered to our problem gambling community members.

They already collected ~$200,000 and spent on over charged consultancy fees that is significantly above market rates, to understand the local problems. If the ethical moral is for real, most of this money should benefit the troubled gamblers first, not to consultants for over charged research work (which excluded solutions development).


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