Rewald promises rates freeze and ’value for money'
Mayoral candidate John Rewald announced on Tuesday that if elected, he would freeze rates in the next council budget.
The hold on increases in rates or council fees would hold for twelve months, after which Mr Rewald said he would seek the council’s endorsement in keeping rates in line with the Consumer Price Index in 2022 and 2023.
Mr Rewald said he had to rely on JobKeeper money during the COVID-19 period.
“As I have been talking with people across the region, a common theme has been how hard 2020 had been in many ways, particularly financially,” he said.
“Many people only receive CPI pay increases. To increase rate more than this, is to rob people of their hard-earnt cash.
“The rate freeze will provide businesses relief from the challenges created from the COVID virus that has seen many businesses shut down and jobs lost. It provides a time of recovery.”
Mr Rewald called the rates freeze the “cornerstone” of his financial policies, with further details to be released at a later date.
He said there was a misconception from other candidates that council money was a “bottomless bucket”.
“In my experience in starting and running several businesses, it takes a great understanding and knowledge of financial practices to balance the books between spending and saving,” Mr Rewald said.
“At times it requires tough decisions. The incoming mayor needs to ensure that the voice of the people are listened to.
“People are struggling. They want rate increases capped. They want value for money, not waste, not money thrown away on endless projects.”
Mr Rewald said that ways in which the council’s financial position might be improved included reducing waste, improving partnerships with governments, cutting red tape to promote investment, attracting business to town, and growing the resident base.
The ex-electrician and Pentecostal pastor also recently declared that part of his suite of policies included promoting the region as a major tourism location.
“Rockhampton is one of the best cities in the world with opportunities and potential to pull in new areas of tourism and development,” he said.
“As we attract visitors we grow the local economy, employing more people, and providing more opportunities for businesses to grow.
“There are many picturesque locations across our region for them to visit.
“The average grey nomad couple spends $550 per week. Think of the benefits to our city, our region and for jobs if we encouraged more of grey nomads to stay, and to stay longer in our region.”