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Barry’s Buzz
Items of interest affecting Local
Government Revenue
Management
Topics
• Jeffree – v – GCCC
• De-amalgamation
• ABR – Towards an Better Business Future
Program
• Coming Up
BRUCE JEFFREE – v - GOLD COAST CITY COUNCIL
• Proceedings were commenced by GCCC
on 24 June 2011 by claim number M2134
of 2011 in the Magistrates Court at
Southport for rates and charges
– (a) made and levied by the Council the Local
Government Act 2009 (“LGA”), and the
– (b) Local Government (Finance, Plans and
Reporting) Regulation 2010 (“Finance Reg”);
BRUCE JEFFREE – v - GOLD COAST CITY COUNCIL
• an application was made by the ratepayer
to the Court that the rate recovery
proceedings be removed to the Federal
Court or High Court of Australia based on
a proposition that:-
BRUCE JEFFREE – v - GOLD COAST CITY COUNCIL
(a) the Commonwealth Constitution gives the
Commonwealth an exclusive power to
impose “land taxes”; and
(b) the conferral of power on local governments
by the LGA to make and levy rates and
charges on land, based on the valuation of
land, is inconsistent with the Commonwealth
exclusivity of that power.
BRUCE JEFFREE – v - GOLD COAST CITY COUNCIL
The application for “removal” was heard by
the Court on 9 February 2012 and was
unsurprisingly, dismissed (with costs).
BRUCE JEFFREE – v - GOLD COAST CITY COUNCIL
The ratepayer then filed a defence,
which repeated the “constitutional”
arguments and raised various other
arguments including matters relating the
rights of an owner of “fee simple”, and
the lawfulness of federal grant funding to
local governments.
BRUCE JEFFREE – v - GOLD COAST CITY COUNCIL
• The Council made application for summary judgement.
• That application was heard and determined by the Court
on 18 April 2012.
• The Plaintiff’s opposition was, based on the written
submissions, premised on the familiar theme that a local
government has no power to impose charges in the
nature of “taxation”.
• The Court granted summary judgement on 18 April
2012.
BRUCE JEFFREE – v - GOLD COAST CITY COUNCIL
• On 23 July 2012 the ratepayer filed an
application to strike out appeal (number
257 of 2012).
• The matter was heard in the District Court
on 27 August before Judge McGinness
with GCCC being represented by Tim
Fynes-Clinton (King & Co)
BRUCE JEFFREE – v - GOLD COAST CITY COUNCIL
• There were strong arguments that the appeal could be
struck out
– The debt was under the threshold for appeal
($25,000) and as such the required leave was not
sought.
• However as GCCC had some responsibilities under
model litigant rules it was concluded that the matter
should continue
BRUCE JEFFREE – v - GOLD COAST CITY COUNCIL
GCCC’s arguments were based around the
Judgment of Wheeler J in the Court of
Appeal Glew & Anor v Shire of Greenough
[2006] WA SCA 260 (Court of Appeal)
This Judgment was affirmed in the High
Court by Glew & Glew v Shire of Greenough
[2007] HCA Trans 520
BRUCE JEFFREE – v - GOLD COAST CITY COUNCIL
• In the Western Australian Court of Appeal decision of
Wheeler J the 1988 referendum is discussed wherein
Wheeler J states that because the 1988 referendum
question was defeated it does not follow that the states
do not have power to establish a system of local
government.
• Wheeler J states that the state always has had, pursuant
to the power to legislate for the peace, order and the
good government of that state, a power to set up a
system of local government as the state sees fit.
• Wheeler J also deals with the state’s power to impose
taxation.
BRUCE JEFFREE – v - GOLD COAST CITY COUNCIL
The Court ordered that the
appeal was struck out and the
appellant (the ratepayer) pay
costs.
De-Amalgamation
• The new Sate Government determined
that it would set up the Boundary
Commission to review current Council
boundaries
• Col Meng, the former mayor of Mackay
Regional Council was appointed as
Commissioner on 29 June 2012.
De-Amalgamation
• The Commissioner will review local government
de-amalgamation proposals referred by the
Minister for Local Government in an open and
logical way and will undertake adequate public
consultation.
• De-amalgamation proposals will be assessed
against a set of financial, social and economic
criteria.
De-Amalgamation
• 19 applications have been received
• 14 applications were rejected
• 5 applications are being considered by the
Commissioner with the assistance of the
State Treasury
• A decision is expected in November 2012
De-Amalgamation
• If the Commissioner recommends a deamalgamation proposal proceeds to a poll to
gauge whole-of-community support, the Minister
will make his decision public by 14 December
2012.
• Compulsory polls, if required, are expected to be
held prior to 31 March 2013.
De-Amalgamation
• Should a poll be successful and Executive
Council on the advice of the Minister for Local
Government approves the de-amalgamation,
transitional work will be undertaken to prepare
the councils for de-amalgamation.
• Should it be required, elections for new council/s
are expected to be held by 31 March 2014.
ABR – Towards an Better Business
Future Program
• A secure online and easy to use wbb
browser service
• Allows users to build their own reports
from ABR data
• Allows Users to download required data
files from ABR data
ABR – Towards an Better Business
Future Program
•
•
•
•
•
Commenced - July 2012
Consultation and Co design - October/November
Build Components – November 2012
User Testing – March 2013
Deployment – From July 2012
Coming Up
• 17 May 2012
One day conference in Brisbane
And………….
2013 Annual Conference
9 -11 October 2013
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