State Govt indicated council would be exempt from stamp duty
EDITORIAL: The Chronicle is seeking documents to clarify the Fraser Coast Regional Council's role in the long-drawn-out Wide Bay Water saga - and to get an idea of how the issue may be resolved.
The WBW controversy, in which the council may be hit up for $65 million in state stamp duty if it goes ahead with money-saving plans to absorb the water board, came to a head last week with board condemnation of the council's plans and the sacking of the WBW chair and deputy chair.
In a special briefing for the Chronicle on Monday, councillors and the council chief executive officer produced anecdotal evidence - and more importantly documents - revealing multiple indications from the Newman government that they would be exempt from the tax on the transfer of WBW's considerable assets.
This flies in the face of recent insistence by Treasurer Tim Nicholls and - oddly - our local members that the council must pay up.
The council was not charged the duty on the transfer in the other direction - when the water board was split off years ago - because that was before regulation changes that altered the council's status as a body corporate.
That status has been changed back - but it would take a further 30 months before that would exempt them from the duty.
Bureaucratic nonsense? Bureaucrats only deal with laws created by politicians.
It appears Fraser Coast ratepayers may suffer because of poor legislative process.
The council will meet senior Treasury officials on Thursday seeking a political solution.
Meanwhile, the Chronicle will continue its efforts to get the full story on this multi-million squabble that is clearly far from over.