PEOPLE with vacant land could be slugged double what a normal ratepayer would under a draft plan to help head off a crippling land shortage.
The idea is among a slew of ideas for the City of Greater Bendigo's rates under a draft budget that has been released for public consultation.
The council wants to ease the squeeze on home buyers and renters struggling in a municipality of rising prices, mayor Jennifer Alden said.
"This need has ... increased in recent months as people look to build and move to Greater Bendigo following the COVID-19 pandemic," she said.
People with vacant land already pay 25 per cent more than those on general rates but are banking it for too long, Cr Alden said.
Developers are telling the council that they cannot purchase land fast enough to keep up with surging demand from a growing population, director of corporate performance Andrew Cooney said.
"Whilst we are seeing a really busy construction industry right now ... there is a concern that if plans are not continued to be developed then in a couple of years the construction industry may not see the same sort of activity," he said.
Most Greater Bendigo people's rates would rise 1.5 per cent in 2021/22, in line with a statewide cap.
Rates would rise at $29 per annum for an average-sized property, though the council advises that that is a very rough guide only.
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Bendigo's council has also warned that people's waste charges will rise by an average $27.70 increase for a 140 litre bin.
"All the other waste and organics charges will increase by a flat rate of 1.5 per cent," Mr Cooney said, referring to changes linked to inflation.
Not everyone will see rates and charges rise. Farmers will be among those to get a break.
The council already charges them 85 per cent of the general rate but wants to drop that to 75 per cent.
Cr Alden said farmers in the region may see their property's value spike when groups like mining companies buy nearby land.
She hoped changes would curb huge rate spikes from year to year but acknowledged there could be more work to do to make the system fairer for farmers in years to come.
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