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Do they think we are that silly?

Please read the article below taken from page 1 of the Manningham Leader dated Aug 14, 2017.






(It is a bit hard to read from the screen. I have uploaded a high definition picture then displayed it as above. If you want to read it and don't have that copy of the Manningham Leader, please download the picture and you can read it from your PC.)

Please note that I am not being critical in any way of the generous and lovely ladies in the picture above who spend their time, probably free of charge, helping people in need in our community.

My complaint is with the Manningham Leader newspaper. Their article makes the claim that people are struggling financially in Manningham because of 'rising gas and electricity bills' and 'soaring rent costs'.

I am sure that the ladies pictured above made no such claim and this is the spin put on the story by the journalists at the Manningham Leader.

So let's look at the statement regarding gas and electricity prices and see how much our bills for water, council rates, gas and electricity have increased and let us try to see exactly where the problem lies.

I thought I would use the amount I pay for these expenses over a four year period.

I took the costs from the first bills I received in the 2013/2014 financial year. (That is around August and September 2013) and from from the last bills I received prior to June 2017.

So these start and end figures show the change in costs over the four financial years. 2013/14, 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17.

Here goes.


Water Bills

'Aug 2013

'Jun 2017

% Increase

Average % pa.

Step 1




9.9% pa

Step 2




4.2% pa

Sewerage Charge




0.84% pa

First a note on how you calculate the average percent increase per year. If the increase over 4 years was 46.38% some may be inclined to divide that by four and say that what the percentage increase per year (i.e. 46.38 / 4 = 11.59%).

But that would not really be correct. That is because the increase each year compounds. That is, a 9.9% increase one year is added to the total of the prior years figure. And the same is done for the increase in the following year.

The correct way to find the average percentage increase per year over a 4 year period is it take the forth root of 1.4638 (where the total increase was 46.38%) (So we take the square root twice of that number).

We find that the average annual percentage increase is really 9.99%.


Next expense: council rates.





% Increase

% pa






Note that these are my council rates figures. I am sure yours will be slightly different. But the percentage increase for residential property should be approximately the same.


Electricity costs have been surprising.


Sept 2013

'June 2017

% Increase



$0.2577 /kW

$0.2502 /kW

2.91% decrease

0.719% pa decrease


$0.945 / day

$1.1047 / day



Note that I get an 36% discount on the above electricity rates because I pay on time. I have left that 36% discount out of the above figures for electricity.

Each year I chase down the best electricity and gas prices I can to ensure I get the best deal. I would assume that most people do something similar.


Finally Gas prices.


'Aug 2013

'May 2017

% Increase

% pa


$0.01778 / Mj

$0.02196 /Mj


5.42% pa


$0.69 / day

$0.7413 / day


1.81% pa

Again, I get an 18% discount on gas if I pay on time. I have also left that discount out of the above figures.


So just why do Manningham residents find it hard to make ends meet?

Taking the average annual percentage increases of each from the above and applying them to each component of the cost, we can see how much my utility costs increased last year based on the average increase over the last 4 years. Note again, these are my utility bills. But I am sure that most would be in very similar situations.


Amount I paid in 2016/2017

Dollar Increase from 2015/2016













These are some very interesting numbers. Clearly the biggest cost increase in dollar terms is the council rates. Then comes the water bill. (At least this is the case for me.)

So did the Manningham Leader get their facts straight?

Why is the article in the Manningham Leader ready to blame rising Gas, Electricity and Rent as the problem when we can see that clearly Gas and Electricity ARE NOT the problem.

I put to you that this is most likely because Gas and Electricity and Rent costs are set by private companies or individuals. Rent is set by Real Estate Agents and landlords. While the Gas and Electricity supply is in the hands of private companies.

So why does the Manningham Leader accuse private companies of soaring price increases but ignore the fact that clearly it is water and especially council rates that have increased the most and are most likely the real cause why Manningham Residents find themselves in difficult financial straits?

I think this is probably this is due to the ideological orientation of the journalists. Most journalists I know are a deep shade of pink when it comes to their ideologies. And their ideology usually clouds their assessment of events.


However if we look at the above table, clearly private enterprise have kept costs down. They have managed expenses, procedures and people well and have been able to keep costs under control. And clearly government agencies have not been able to do this.

If anyone has 'our backs' it is private enterprise. The two smallest price increases come from privately owned companies.

So if the Manningham Leader cannot get these basic facts right, then just how credible is their claim that 'rents are soaring'. Being a landlord myself, I understand that rents are usually set by the value of the property. As house prices increase, so the rent usually also increases.

What I find interesting is that the Manningham Leader newspaper simply cannot bring themselves to blame the council or Yarra Valley Water, two government bodies that have clearly given us the biggest increase in costs. In fact there is no mention of these two government agencies. They seem to want to quietly sidestep the cost increases of these two government bodies.

But these two government bodies are most likely the real reason why some people in Manningham cannot make ends meet financially.


So why is our local Manningham Leader newspaper so reluctant to blame government and government agencies for 'soaring' cost increases for residents. I think there may be two reasons for this?

a) Manningham council gives money each year to the Manningham Leader newspaper. Clearly if the newspaper print articles critical of the council, that money will be in jeopardy. The council would say that this is to aid the running costs of the newspaper. But why on earth is public money being given to a private media organisation? Don't they get enough money from advertising to make their business profitable? Clearly this council money has an impact on their reporting as I have mentioned before. It is likely that people on the inside know that this money brings about a response that the council wants from the newspaper.

b) Second, people today can have the mindset that government can do little wrong and is there to take care of them. They think the government 'has their back'. In reality, we can clearly see that government bodies are the main reason why some people are finding it hard to make ends meet today. And this is likely due to the fact that the government cannot manage expenses, people and procedures and keep costs under control.

And as a result they place a large burden on families who cannot afford it.


It appears that many people are mistaken, possibly led astray by false media reports and false ideology. 

In truth, the government does not 'have our back'. We can see that the very thing they accuse these terrible 'capitalists' of doing is the very thing that governments do.

We also can see that the deceptive statements like 'but both sides are just as bad' is also clearly false.

We can see that the private sector has kept costs under control far better than the government and unlike the government has not significantly added to the financial burdens of the community.

And no, this is not ideology on my part. It is the numbers that tell the story and bring me to this conclusion.



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