By Staff Writer
The Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) has advised councils to consider a rate hike of up to eight per cent this year.
LGAQ executive director Greg Hallam said councils would be justified in raising rates by six to eight per cent in 2009-2010 budgets.
“Last year’s Productivity Commission report into council ratings Australia-wide found that councils were under-rating the community by around 10 per cent,” Hallam said.
“The LGAQ councils’ price index, based on ABS data and published in February, showed annualised operating costs for councils for the 2008 calendar year had risen 5.3 per cent.”
He said councils were hoping for cost increases to moderate, but there were no indications of that happening in the future.
He added that 37 councils were meeting ongoing amalgamation costs, which could take up to three years to wash through the system.
“We now have hard evidence that the total wages bill in the newly-amalgamated councils rose by seven per cent in the 2008 calendar year, because of the government’s transition equalising requirement that councils pay the highest wage rates which applied in the previous councils,” he said.
“And in south-east Queensland, councils will face a doubling of their bulk water charges in 2009-2010 as they start to pay a massive $9 billion debt for the water grid.”
The LGAQ said it was only providing advice on recommended rate rises and that it would be up to individual councils to decide whether to pursue a rate hike.
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