KEEPING rates low and updating infrastructure are the two biggest issues facing the Yarra Ranges, according to this year's council candidates.
In a survey sent by the Weekly to all candidates who provided contact details to the Victorian Electoral Commission, 31 responded while seven refused to participate or could not be contacted.
Many respondents said maintaining low rates was one of the most important issues.
Director of Monash University's governance research unit Ken Coghill said appealing to voters' hip pocket nerve was "very common."
"For candidates it's a matter of keeping rates affordable but ensuring they don't compromise services needed by the community."
In the 2012-13 financial year, rates in Yarra Range Shire will rise by 5.7 per cent.
The council adopted a 4.2 per cent average increase in rates, plus an additional 1.5 per cent levy to cover expected costs from the federal government's carbon tax.
Professor Coghill said it was difficult for candidates to deliver a promise to reduce rates.
"It's almost impossible for an individual to play a deciding role on major funding issues, but they can contribute to wider discussion."
The second most important issue for candidates in all wards was updating infrastructure, including public transport, roads and pathways, and building shopping outlets.
Many believed the area has not been serviced well by public transport, while more could be done to encourage tourism in the Yarra Ranges.
Supporting businesses and protecting the natural beauty of the area were also issues rated highly among candidate responses.
All unedited candidate responses can be viewed at yarrarangesweekly.com.au.
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