New ratepay­ers group pushes ‘lose the levy’

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS - By Sharon Small­wood

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.

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