Council body criticises rate subsidy cut for pensioners

THE State Budget has been given a tick of approval for being "strongly focused on securing Queensland's future", but it is a mixed bag for local government.

It provides for the general maintenance of funding for vital roads infrastructure and natural disaster mitigation, but contains an unwelcome, unspecified cut to long-standing pensioner rates concessions.

The Local Government Association of Queensland welcomed the Government's plan to invest some of the proceeds from any future asset sales programs into local roads and community infrastructure.

LGAQ president Margaret de Wit was disappointed the Government had signalled a cut in funding for rate subsidies to pensioners as part of its response to the Federal Government's decision to reduce its support for a range of other concessions.

"The pensioner rate subsidy scheme is a long-standing recognition that our seniors deserve support and it is disappointing that this budget will affect their access to concessional treatment on their council rates,'' Cr de Wit said.

"This scheme was fully funded by the State Government in the past so we will be seeking further information on why it should be affected by a cut in Federal Government support for other pensioner concessions.''

Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson was more circumspect, saying the budget contained significant detail which would have to be worked through.

Cr de Wit was supportive of a range of budget measures, particularly additional funds for drought assistance.

"This is a budget that shows the business of building Queensland should be front and centre for both state and local government,'' she said.


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