The following comment is from CEO Tony McIlroy
In a letter dated 4 July 2016, two days after the Federal Election, the Council received advice from agents Cushman & Wakefield acting on behalf of the Federal Government Department of Defence indicating that the Benalla Munitions Facility is no longer rateable under the Australian Constitution Act.
The Council has sought legal advice which concludes that the only option available to the Council is to negotiate an ex gratia payment in lieu of rates from the Federal Government.
The Mayor and I are seeking an urgent meeting with the Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne through the Senator for Victoria the Hon Bridget McKenzie.
The fact is that the Benalla Munitions Facility is the single largest contributor to the rates and charges revenue base of the Rural City (2016/17 - $447,434). It represents 2.8 per cent of total revenue from rates and charges.
This revelation could not have come at a worse time given the current financial pressures on Local Government as a result of the State Government imposed rate cap and its winding back of infrastructure programs combined with the Federal Government freeze on indexation of Financial Assistance Grants.