State Govt to charge an extra $90 with rural fire fee

THE State Government has been slammed by the Rural Fire Brigade and the Fraser Coast Regional Council over a proposal to introduce a new fire levy.

The Rural Fire Brigades Association Queensland (RFBAQ) said the proposals for next week's budget would massively increase the amount landholders would be charged.

Under the new levy, all landholders in rural fire brigade areas will pay an extra $90 on top of their existing rural fire levy.

Justin Choveaux, chief executive officer of the RFBAQ, said this money would not go back to brigades in rural areas but be funnelled down to Brisbane.

Fraser Coast Mayor Gerard O'Connell is also concerned about the levy, which would be added to residents' rates notices.

"State Government charges shouldn't be on council rate bills," Cr O'Connell said.

He said it could add up to $140 to some rural properties' rates once the existing rural fire levy was taken into account.

Maryborough MP Anne Maddern said the levy was being implemented to ensure emergency services such as helicopter rescue and swift water rescue could be provided.

"The importance of these services was demonstrated dramatically during the floods in early 2013," she said.



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