Livingstone Mayor Andy Ireland today handed down his first budget.
Livingstone Mayor Andy Ireland today handed down his first budget.

RATES RISE: What Livingstone’s budget means for you

LIVINGSTONE Mayor Andy Ireland made a concerted effort to explain why a blanket zero per cent rates increase was not possible.

The shire’s residents can expect a 2 per cent average rate and utilities rise in the next year with the measure on Tuesday morning passed by councillors as part of 2020-21 budget proceedings.

“During the election campaign, a number of people suggested or requested, we should bring in a zero rates rise,” Cr Ireland said.

“There’s probably not one councillor around this room that would not like, or want, to do that.

“The reality is, council’s costs increase all the time as well.

“So if council were to award a zero per cent increase across the board, we would simply go backwards.”

The mayor said the council had kept a rates rise “as low as we possibly can.”

“The implication for ratepayers is that, about 30 per cent of our ratepayers will receive a zero rate rise or less,” Cr Ireland said.

“From a residential ratepayers perspective, 23.9 per cent of ratepayers will have a zero increase or less.

“Thirty-five per cent will have an increase between zero and $100, so two bucks a week.

“And 20.2 (per cent) will have an increase of between $100 and $200 per annum.”

The 2020-21 Livingstone budget will also continue to provide rates relief to seniors and other pensioners on fixed incomes through a maximum pensioner rates rebate of $300.

“We’ve also retained the 10 per cent discount on general rates, water, sewerage and waste charges,” Cr Ireland said.

“Providing additional payment options for ratepayers experiencing financial difficulty has been built into this budget as well.

“So, as a number of councillors have mentioned during the discussions around this budget, if you are having difficulty paying your rates - please, please, please, get in touch with us as soon as you possibly realise that’s going to be your situation.

“We have a number of mechanisms within council to be able to assist you through it.”

Cr Ireland said that during the election campaign, candidates were “constantly reminded of the high level of rates”.

“And yes we are, at this point in time, the second highest in Queensland,” he said.

“We’re also reminded of the level of debt and the concern within the community around the level of debt.

“We’ve also been battling with the consequences of COVID-19.

“Amongst all of that, we’ve been trying to then deliver a level of service that the community expects.

“I think, largely, we’ve managed to achieve.”

MORE LIVINGSTONE 2020-21 BUDGET COVERAGE:

Landlord tax scrapped in Livingstone budget

REVEALED: Livingstone’s $41M capital works spend



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