by Jessica McGrath
Rural ratepayers can expect a slight reprieve this new financial year after the South Burnett Regional Council voted for no rate increases.
This will apply for category 6 rural ratepayers as outlined in the council’s 2021-22 budget which was released on Wednesday, 14 July.
This equates to a minimum rate of $1070 for those in this category.
Other ratepayers in all other categories can expect a general rate increase by 1 per cent in the dollar, with related discounts being adjusted to reflect the change in revenue.
Councillor Scott Henschen proposed the rate freeze for category 6 rural ratepayers, in light of them being affected by the most recent valuations and the prolonged drought.
These category 6 ratepayers would then return to the rating model for the 2022/23 budget adopted by the council.
This resolution was passed 6-1, with Mayor Brett Otto against.
Mayor Brett Otto had proposed a different amendment which was in support of a 0 per cent in the dollar rate rise for all ratepayers.
However, this was defeated with Mayor Otto, Cr Kathy Duff and Cr Henschen voting in favour of the motion. Cr Gavin Jones, Cr Kirsty Schumacher, Cr Danita Potter and Cr Roz Frohloff voted against.
Mayor Otto stated he still supported the rural rates freeze despite voting against, rather turning his focus on pensioners and low-income families as well.
“I am 100 per cent supportive of the 0 per cent rate rise for farmers,” he said.
Category 6 rural ratepayers includes all properties located within the South Burnett Regional Council area, which are used for the business of primary production, guided by the Department of Natural Resources and Mines.
This includes all land in the region that is used for the business of primary production, including agricultural, grazing, horticulture, aquaculture and similar purposes. Properties in category 6 must qualify for the Department of Natural Resources and Mines primary producers’ concession.
More details on the 2021-22 budget to come.