Group predicts huge rates rise

By Nicola Kerkenezov

Noosa Shire home and unit owners had better start saving their pennies because they could need an extra $6 million to pay rates under a super council.

After months of analysis using the Maroochy Shire Council rating system, the Noosa Shire Residents and Ratepayers Association predicts that general rates for some units could rise by 128%, and most houses 30%, if amalgamation goes ahead.

Association president Mike Taylor and his wife and fellow member, Monica, have calculated how a Coast super council could potentially affect local residents' rates using data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, as well as Noosa and Maroochy councils.

They said many local people would be hard hit by the expected changes, most notably strata-unit owners.

"The average increase in general rates for almost 8000 units would be 49%, with some as high as 128%. In dollar terms, increases would range up to nearly $3000 a year," the Taylors said.

"These increases would be passed through by landlords, so tourists and renters would pay more.

"The total extra rates paid by houses would be $2.1 million per year. Units would pay an extra $4 million per year." The Taylors also said rate rises under a new super council would further exacerbate housing affordability.

"And with only two (Noosa Shire) councillors out of 12 (serving on a new council), our chances of stopping this would be slim," they said.

But a spokesperson for the Sunshine Coast Regional Council Local Transition Committee (LTC) last week said it was premature to predict the impact of future rating systems.

LTC's Claudia Di Blasi said a new rating scale would be determined by the incoming council when it established a budget and corporate plan from mid March.

"The system could be one of the existing three, a combination, or totally new," she said.

"Whichever it is, it will be up to the new council to discuss during the budget process."

Ms Di Blasi also stressed that it was anticipated a new council would consult with the community, including Coast ratepayer groups, before a new structure was put in place.

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