Rates to double for abattoirs, mills, feedlots, quarries
THE owners of vacant commercial and industrial land have been among the hardest hit by Gympie Regional Council rate rises in a move designed to make the system fairer and promote development.
Properties within the vacant commercial and industrial category around the region have been slugged with a 39.76 per cent rates hike, among the highest levied in the new budget.
Owners of vacant commercial and industrial land on the coast and in rural areas were a little better off, with rises kept to 19 per cent.
Mayor Glen Hartwig said previously these lands had been paying rates at the same level as residential properties.
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“It was unfair and improper cost on the ratepayer as a whole,” Mr Hartwig said.
“We needed to bring it in line with what was expected.”
Acting chief financial officer David Lewis said this system “can be used to incentivise development as well”.
They were the largest hikes outside of those given to major industries and infrastructure land.
State Government dams were slugged with a 200 per cent rise, while extractive industries (including water extraction) took a 109 per cent hit and noxious industries, abattoirs, feedlots and sawmills took a 100 per cent hit to their general rates.
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Electrical, reticulation and telecommunications infrastructure were given a 79 per cent rise.
The number of council rating categories exploded from 11 to 57.
“The changes to the categories were about looking to the future,” Mr Lewis said.
Mr Hartwig said the move provided a clearer focus, too.
“By breaking it down we were able to apply a rating system that was purpose driven … rather than putting a whole lot of categories into one hat and not being specific or relevant to what was appropriate,” he said.