Fraser Coast Council to sit out WBW stamp duty period

FRASER Coast Council will abandon its plan to turn Wide Bay Water into a commercialised business unit for now, after Queensland Treasury denied it a stamp duty exemption.

Mayor Gerard O'Connell said the council would not pay the estimated $65 million stamp duty bill and would put the CBU process on hold.

The council has pursued exemption from the bill since February.

Cr O'Connell said he would continue lobbying to have the law changed to allow councillors to sit on the board of WBW.

The council has already approached Local Government Minister David Crisafulli to argue for the legislative change.

"He has certainly been very amenable to it," Cr O'Connell said.

The Chronicle understands the council will also continue to make shared service agreements with Wide Bay Water, which would include transferring responsibility for departments such as IT.

The council will be able to transfer Wide Bay Water back under its control as a commercial business unit in two-and-a-half years without incurring any stamp duty.

The Treasury gave its official answer to the council's exemption application in a letter on Monday.

In the letter, Under Treasurer Helen Gluer said granting ex-gratia relief to the council would undermine existing restrictions on corporate reconstruction provisions.



Should Wide Bay Water remain a local government-owned corporation or should council continue with its push to make it a commercial business unit?

This poll ended on 18 August 2013.

WBW should remain a local government-owned corporation - 36%

Council should make it a commercial business unit - 63%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Fraser Coast Regional Council Mayor Gerard O'Connell.
Fraser Coast Regional Council Mayor Gerard O'Connell. Valerie Horton

Topics:  fraser coast regional council gerard o'connell mayor stamp duty wide bay water

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