Are these the lowest Rates in Regional Queensland?
Published on 12 June 2019
New data from the Queensland State Government has revealed Rockhampton has among the lowest rates in major Regional Queensland centres.
Mayor Margaret Strelow said the data was independent, publicly available and showed the real story when it comes to the Rockhampton Region’s rates.
“No one likes paying rates. But if you’re going to pay them, what the data shows us is that Rockhampton is among the lowest when you compare it against other major regional centres like Townsville, Mackay, Bundaberg,” Mayor Strelow said.
“I should add while Yeppoon isn’t a major centre, we’ve included it in the comparison as our nearest neighbour to give some context.”
Ratepayers in the Rockhampton Region will continue to benefit from paying some of the lowest rates in regional Queensland with the 2019/20 draft budget proposing an overall rate increase of 2.8% for the average residential property.
“So for the average resident, what we’re proposing is an increase of about $1.50 a week,” Mayor Strelow said.
“This year’s budget will also see a ‘one off’ adjustment to our rural rates and freeze the General Rates portion of the rates bill for farming properties.
“This will deliver some relief to our farmers at a time that they need it, but also bring greater equity with rates paid in our neighbouring communities. No one likes to pay rates but our rural rate payers groups were able to put a persuasive case that whilst our residential rates were among the lowest in regional Queensland (if not the lowest!), the position wasn’t quite as good for rural ratepayers.”
Mayor Strelow said sporting clubs and community organisations would also benefit.
“Council has provided an increase in the concessions to Sporting Clubs and Community Organisations in recognition that rates are a substantial component of many clubs’ operating costs,” Mayor Strelow said.
“I hate the thought of community groups and sporting clubs holding multiple sausage sizzles just to pay their Council Rates. We can’t afford to make their rates free but we can offer some relief.
“We need to use valuable volunteer time for all of the good things that our community groups deliver back into their sport, so this budget will provide some welcome relief and reduce the rates component of our clubs and associations’ annual budgets.
“Every sporting club (without poker machines) should have a reduction in rates paid compared to last year, and nearly a quarter have a reduction of $250 or more from their half-yearly bill.”
Mayor Strelow said that rates and charges represent 70% of Council’s total Operating Income.
“Without rates, Council would not be able to deliver the services and infrastructure our community needs and deserves,” Mayor Strelow said.
“They build our roads, they keep our libraries open and they deliver social infrastructure like parks, playgrounds and barbecue areas for our region.”
The Rockhampton Regional Council 19-20 Budget is due to be issued on June 26th.
Information regarding the comparative rates of local governments for the 18-19 financial year can be found here: https://www.dlgrma.qld.gov.au/resources-ilgp/plans-strategies-reports/local-government-comparative-reports.html.
(Data set is available under subheading ‘Queensland local government comparative information 2017-18’ and subset 5 ‘2018-19 residential rating introduction and residential rating and 2017-18 residential rating).