New ratepayers group pushes ‘lose the levy’
A NEW Bowen-based ratepayers association has formed with the aim of addressing the issues of rising rates and charges.
Named the Whitsunday Regional Ratepayers Association (WRAA), office bearers are Ross Newell (president), John Barnes (secretary), Trevor Anderson (treasurer) and Chris Monsour (rates presentation).
The WRRA has already started a ‘lose the levy’ campaign regarding the $140 major projects levy. The association is asking Whitsunday Regional Council to renegotiate the terms of the $10million loan from Queensland Treasury Corporation (QTC).
Members also want Council to revert the water rating system to its previous levels and explain the financial position in relation to all over-spends.
President Ross Newell said WRRA members were prepared to take their case to the Minister for Local Government David Crisafulli and ask him to do a full investigation of the financial obligations of this Council.
“There are other strategies but the Council will not talk to us,” he said.
Mr Newell said the objectives of the WRRA would be parallel to those of the existing Whitsunday Ratepayers Association (WRA) and “it would be the aim to merge the two groups over time”.
But secretary of the WRA Tony Moscato said he found the new association to be slightly “divisive”.
Mr Newell said this was not the news association’s intention.
“We’re not fighting against the existing ratepayers association but they were responsible for getting Jennifer [Whitney] into Council – they wanted to get rid of Brunker,” he said.
“[However], we’re not interested in the politics and we strongly believe that yesterday was yesterday and we’ve got to move forward as one region.
“We’ve all got the same aims and I’m confident we’re both striving for the same outcome which is satisfactory rates for the community across the whole region.”
Whitsunday mayor Jennifer Whitney said she too saw the divisive side of the argument.
“But at the end of the day from Council’s point of view if they feel the need for the scrutiny of another ratepayers association, we welcome it,” she said.
To join the newly formed WRRA, contact Ross Newell on 4785 1003.