Member Login


Sidebar Bottom
MBRA - Mt Buller Ratepayers Association
content top

About Us

Background and Our Role Today

Today the Mt Buller Ratepayers Association has an excellent relationship with the Mt Buller Chamber of Commerce and we combine on many matters that concern both bodies. There is also a close working relationship with the Chairman of the Resort Management Board and the CEO, a relationship built over time and based on mutual respect.

We are now an active member of the Alpine Resorts Working Group (acting as a sub-committee of the Victorian Snowsports Association) in making submissions to and negotiating with government on a range of issues including governance, stakeholder consultation and representation, site rental charges and leasing matters. The primary objective being to negotiate the introduction of a fairer basis for calculating site rental and providing an incentive for the providers of affordable accommodation to the broad Victorian community and special interest groups.

MBRA representatives meet with members of the Board on at least an annual basis, attend the Resort Management Board (RMB) Community Forums and continue a monitoring role to ensure any state-wide policy changes are appropriate and fairly balanced between the interests of the ARMB and of the stakeholders. We are currently involved in the Club Lodge Working Group which encourages ski club operated lodges to be more businesslike and plan for the future. The CLWG has already conducted a number of Workshops with good outcomes for its members.


Fifty years ago, most of the ski club lodges at Mt Buller occupied their sites under an annual Permissive Occupancy License. Very few had a formal lease with the opportunity to obtain a lease limited and the process cumbersome. In those days the resort was managed by the Forests Commission of Victoria, whose major role was managing the state forests, not developing an expanding ski resort. There were issues and differences between the resort management and the stakeholders, which prompted the formation of a body to jointly represent the stakeholders’ interests. Hence the formation in 1972 of the Mt Buller Ratepayers Association.

An Important Developing Role

It did not take long for the newly formed Ratepayers Association to establish a meaningful dialogue with the Mt Buller Committee of Management and executives of the Forests Commission. Two obvious purposes were served. Firstly, the MBRA provided a means for the stakeholder community to express views on a range of issues. Secondly and perhaps just as important, the Committee of Management could now work with a body who were eager for information and who could communicate with its members, the Buller stakeholders. At the same time the MBRA was invited to nominate a representative to join the Committee of Management which established a greater level of transparency.

Over the years the Mt Buller Ratepayers Association has been involved in a wide range of issues, perhaps the most significant being in 1989 when the Alpine Resorts Commission proposed massive and unjustified increases in site rentals. The Ratepayers Association, in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce, developed a strategy to combat these increases with 125 stakeholders contributing to the establishment of a substantial fighting fund to be used in engaging Valuers and Queens Council if and when necessary.  The MBRA still has this fund available to cover legal costs and to fight specific issues.

Initially the battle was with the then Alpine Resorts Commission but it soon became apparent that only the Minister could resolve the issue. As a result of four public meetings he did, and in 1990 the historic ARC/VSA Site Rental Agreement was signed. The site holders (96 from Mt Buller) who agreed to accept the agreement saved as much as 40% on their site rentals. As those siteholders will know, these agreements have now expired. Recent attempts to have these agreements extended have been unsuccessful.

Achievements of the MBRA

From the 1980s to the present day the MBRA has taken on the role as the major alpine stakeholder body in Victoria in lobbying and negotiating with the authorities.  In many cases the MBRA has provided assistance in the drafting of policy and agreements with our landlord - the responsible Minister, the former Alpine Resorts Commission, the Department of Sustainability and Environment, Crown Land Management, and now the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP).

Since 1986, the MBRA has been deeply involved in the development of numerous documents/policies with the aim being to protect the interests of ski clubs in particular and, at the same time provide benefits to all alpine resort site holders in Victoria. These include:

1987 - Site Rental Policy providing a 3-year phasing in of site rental charges based on 3.5% of site valuation. The government had proposed 5% with the charge being effective immediately.

1989 - Meeting with the Valuer General in conjunction with our own Valuer to check the fairness of site values and where appropriate lodge objections.

1990 - Negotiated the ground breaking ARC/VSA Site Rental Agreement, which included the first right of renewal of a lease.

1991 – The development of the Plain English Lease which incorporated the ARC/VSA Site Rental Agreement and offered to all site holders in Victoria. This Lease provided ski clubs with a 30% cap on site rental increases plus CPI every six years.

1992 - New Lease Term Policy of 24, 36 & 50 years, replacing the Crown Land Management former policy of 12 and 21 years.

1992 - With the object of promoting the resort, the Chamber of Commerce and the MBRA agreed to support a marketing levy of 7% on service charges. This gave the MBRA the right to nominate two representatives to the Promotion Committee.

2002 - Worked exclusively with the Minister and Crown Land Management to develop the new Alpine Resorts Leasing Policy and Implementation Details.

2003 - Provided considerable input in the finalisation of the new Alpine Resorts Standard Lease by working with a sub-committee comprising representatives of the Victorian Snowsports Assoc. and the Hotham Ski Assoc. to examine the proposed lease clause by clause. Then argued for and negotiated changes and improvements to the lease. In particular to make sure that it complied with the Minister’s declared Alpine Lease Policy. The new lease which provides significant benefits to site holders who wish to renew their lease, and is a vast improvement over the document many stakeholders had previously been asked to sign, is still less than perfect.

2004 - Met regularly with the Chair and CEO of the Alpine Resort Management Board (ARMB) to discuss proposed capital works, resort financial matters as well as other resort items.

2005 - Formed a sub-committee under the VSA to negotiate with the Building Commission a set of conditions under which stakeholders could claim exemption from some requirements to fit fire sprinklers.

2006 - Became fully involved with the ARMB in resolving issues associated with the change from determining service charges by bed numbers to CIV. The MBRA objective was to see that its members were not unfairly disadvantaged.

2006/7 - Kept members updated on the fire protection preparations and fire fighting activities which protected the resort from the 2006/07 bushfires.

2008 - Has two of its committee members serving on the committee which has developed a year-round health service for Mt Buller.

2008/9/10 - With the Hotham Ski Association and Falls Creek Alpine Association monitored the revision of the Alpine Resorts Regulations.

2011 - Working with the Alpine Resorts Working Group (of which the MBRA is a member) we commissioned Ernst & Young to conduct an economic study into the impact that cost increases is having on ski clubs, the providers of affordable and entry level accommodation for visitors to the alpine resorts.

2012 - Participated in workshops convened by the ARCC to develop and review the Draft Alpine Resorts Strategic Plan 2012 and with the ARWG presented a combined resort response plus a specific response on behalf of the MBRA.

2013 – The MBRA joined with the RMB, BSL and Chamber to form the Buller Interschools Association (BIA) which continues to administer the highly successful Victorian and National Snowsports Competition held at Buller since 1957. This competition goes from strength to strength. The MBRA is a sponsor of the event.

2014 – Formed, with the Resort Management Board, the ‘Mt Buller Club Lodge Working Group’ (CLWG) which has as its primary objective to create a closer working relationship between both parties on a range of matters relevant to both. Achieved a three year transition arrangement which eased the significant rent increases being faced by clubs entering new leases.

2016 – Worked with RMB, BSL and Chamber to develop a new web based booking system where all visitation needs can be booked online.

The MBRA has made a number of submissions as part of the reviews requested by the Minister. One to the ARCC in response to proposed increases in site rentals for those on the VSA/ARC agreement.  Another to the Minister following the E & Y economic study and more recently to the Minister (as a member of the ARWG) in relation to the Draft Alpine Resorts Strategic Plan 2012.