Ararat Rural City Council Rating Strategy Jury

Why are we doing this?

We know our community is passionate about the lifestyle that makes Ararat Rural City unique and that you want to be involved in decision-making about the things that impact our future.
In recent months we’ve heard loud and clear that our community does not trust the process. We need to do better when it comes to involving people in the decisions that affect us all. This means involving people, sharing the challenge, and being open to any answer. It includes involving everyday people like you, in making difficult trade-offs and giving authority to your final recommendations.
Council wants to act on informed opinions from a representativecross-section of the community and holding a Jury as opposed to a survey is a good way to do this.
The Rating Strategy Advisory Group and the Jury processes are an opportunity to really do something different – to show that we value your input, your expertise, your willingness to work alongside us to make decisions that affect all of us.
That’s why we’ve asked the newDemocracy Foundation to design the Jury. The newDemocracy Foundation is an independent, nonpartisan research and development organisation working in ways to strengthen and restore trust in public decision making. They are providing free advice and support to Council.


Jurors will be randomly selected from the people who register. 25 people will participate and they will be selected across a range of demographics that represent the various Ararat Rural City communities and rate payers. This selection will be done by newDemocracy Foundation (not Council).
Selected jurors will be provided with access to Ararat Rural City Council rating information and given time to reach informed, consensus style recommendations in a process designed by representatives of newDemocracy Foundation.
Jurors will also be provided with a number of models that are under consideration from the Rating Strategy Advisory Group as well as giving you the chance to recommend a new model.

What is a Rating Strategy?

A rating strategy is the method that Councils use to inform decisions about the rating system. The rating system determines how Council will raise money from properties within the municipality. The rating strategy does not change the total amount of money to be raised, only the share of revenue contributed by each class of property.
Rating differentials are often used by Councils to ensure the burden of rates to particular groups is not too high. A range of principles are taken into account. You do not need to understand rating strategies to participate in this activity. All relevant information will be
provided to jury members.


The unedited recommendations of the Jury will be published at the completion of the workshop. The Mayor and Councillors will provide a response to the recommendations prior to releasing their draft 2018/19 Budget and Rating Strategy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is Council asking people in the community to be involved in this process?

Simply put, because it will allow Council to make decisions that the wider community can look at and trust by more directly and visibly ‘sharing the decision’.

The commitments, principles and decisions they make will be more trusted, because residents can see they are based on the recommendations of 'people like me', overseen by 'people like me' and ultimately supported and endorsed by 'people like me'.

What is being asked of me if I am selected on the Jury?

You will be asked to attend a 2 day workshop to learn some information about rating strategies, hear from the Rating Strategy Advisory Group members who will share their experience and thoughts, along with discussing options that have been provided to the Jury for consideration.

At the end of the workshop Jurors are asked to develop recommendations to Council that reflect the view of everyone in the room.

Why does the registration form ask ' Is your primary income from agriculture?'

The selection process is genuinely random across the 4 measures that have been included.  If Agriculture wasn’t included as a specific measure the random selection may accidently leave the farming voice out all together.

Conversely the entire Jury could be the one voice of farming community. Councillors need to hear from a range of perspectives and people watching the process need to feel that it is a fair representation of snapshot of our community. 

Other categories have not been included because we don’t yet know what categories will be recommended to Council. We know that the majority of the conversation in the community has been around farming differentials.

How many people will be on the Jury?

We are aiming for 25 people, but this will depend on the number of people who register to participate.

How will Council ensure a fair mix of people in the Jury?

Once people have registered their interest to participate, the Jury selection will be undertaken by the New Democracy Foundation as an independent organisation assisting Council with this process. 

New Democracy has tools to make a random draw broadly matched to the Census profile for Ararat.  The make-up of the Jury will be based on our current data that represents our community as follows;

  • 53% Males, 47% Females,
  • 25% aged15-34 years
  • 39% aged 35-59 years
  • 36% aged 60+
  • 24% renters
  • 76% property owners
  • 24% people with Agriculture as a primary source of income.

Note: the total is greater than 100% because people will fit across multiple categories e.g. 20 year old, female, property owner.

Why are renters included in the Jury?

(a) they get to vote in council elections,

(b) are people in the community and

(c) indirectly contribute to rates as costs like that are factored into the amount of rent they pay.