Duplication between state and local government is leaving businesses overburdened with rising costs and increasing red tape, says Member for Western Victoria James Purcell.

Mr Purcell raised the matter in Parliament this week, calling on the government to reduce duplication and review the existing structures of local and state government.

“A number of farmers have told me they are individually paying rates of $20,000 to $30,000, and this is becoming a significant portion of their costs,” Mr Purcell told Parliament.

“For our businesses to be world competitive, we need to make certain that all levels of government are efficient and that they are structured so that businesses are not overburdened with costs and red tape.

“State and local government must be restructured to give businesses a fair chance.”

Mr Purcell called for a review of the “duplication, overlap and inefficiencies that exist because of the structure of government we currently have in Victoria”.

“The sustainability of local government has been put under further pressure by the state government capping rates and the federal government not indexing financial assistance grants.

“If we also take into account the scrapping of the country roads and bridges program, which was worth $1million to rural councils, we find that a significant number of these councils that were previously financial will become unsustainable.

“This triple whammy is likely to be the straw that breaks the backs of these councils.”

Mr Purcell said he also believed the super council approach had merit, where large councils would be established to cover the areas currently incorporated by catchment management authorities and water boards, and would incorporate the work of these bodies.