Petition calls for council to lower general rates cost
A FRASER Coast ratepayer has launched a petition calling on the council to lower the cost of general rates as residents continue to reel from the latest rates shock.
The petition claims the region is home to some of the highest rates in Local Government, made worse with a low socio-economic background and high unemployment rate.
"This is a massive problem we have with constant rate rises here with not many jobs available and a low capital growth rate in the whole region," the petition reads.
"With your help I will lodge this petition to the Fraser Coast Regional Council with a hope that they could listen and help their own constituents out.
"(The) Fraser Coast region will only suffer more unless you help."
Since it was launched on September 9, it has gained about 370 signatures.
The petition is the latest in an ongoing rates saga that has embroiled the council over the past few weeks.
Changes in State Government-controlled land valuations and general rate category re-classifications have been blamed for the changes.
Pre-empting the crisis, the council sent letters to about 7000 ratepayers across the region warning them of a potential rates rise.
Some properties have received increases of up to 20 per cent.
Chief Petitioner Trevor Green said he set up the petition because he felt the council's new rates were "overly exorbitant".
"We have an 11.8 per cent unemployment in the area and an average median pay of $478 per week," Mr Green said.
"I think with voicing change and people power, we have the power to tell Local Government we're hurting as a region."
But councillor Rolf Light said the council was not collecting one more cent in rates compared to previous years.
He said valuations were carried out by the Valuer General's office, and not by the council.
"The facts are in Queensland, rates are determined by unapproved property values, that's the DNA of the Local Government Act," Cr Light said.
"I recognise this region has financial headwinds, but this council has recognised that by having no revenue gain, and allowing ratepayers to stage rate payments over the calendar year.
"This has been well-received to aid cash flow."
Mr Green, a Maryborough resident, said he didn't believe the valuations argument because of discrepancies between the rates for different blocks.
"The rates for some areas in Dundowran properties are $300 cheaper, but others have rate rises of up to $2,900," he said.