FIVE Yarra Ranges Council candidates endorsed by the same political lobby group aimed at freezing rate rises in the Yarra Ranges Shire hold conflicting views on the issue.
Council aspirants Alister Osborn, Clive Larkman, Maria McCarthy, Michael Mathews and Jim Child have all attended meetings of the Yarra Ranges Ratepayers group and have been officially endorsed by the group — yet they are in disagreement about their platform.
Mr Osborn, president of the ratepayers group and Melba Ward candidate, said it was more of an open forum for issues in the Yarra Ranges area.
"We've got about 150 people signed up as members. It's pretty loose; some people come along to talk about other issues," he said.
The association aims to stem increases in rate rises. Billanook Ward candidate Clive Larkman said he thought the council should be capping rates for three out of four years.
"We should be focusing on the expenses of the council, not the income," he said.
But O'Shannassy Ward candidate Jim Child said he disagreed with the idea that rates should be frozen to stay in line with the consumer price index. "I can't agree with them on that. At the end of the day you have to play catch-up.
"They can endorse me but I don't agree with freezing the rate for three years," he said.
Mr Child said he has attended meetings but does not describe himself as a member.
Maria McCarthy, also for Billanook Ward, said they were all running their own individual campaigns but "we all have an issue with rates rises".
Ryrie Ward candidate Michael Mathews said rather than aligning himself with any single group, he worked with as many groups as he could to draw conclusions.
Asked in the Weekly's candidate questionnaire (sent out to all nominees last week) whether they belonged to a political lobby group, none of the five declared their involvement with the ratepayers group — until later reminded by this publication.