LGAQ, Property Council clash over lost revenues

Councils could owe the State Government as much as $600 million in revenue if land tax legislation is overturned, according to the Local Government Association of Queensland.

A move by shopping centres and the Property Council to overturn pending state government legislation would leave councils out of pocket and force residential rates in urban areas to increase dramatically, LGAQ president, Cr Paul Bell said today.

"The attitude of these big operators puts Ronnie Biggs to shame. It's a classic case of Robin Hood in reverse," Cr Bell said.

"The LGAQ is right behind the state government in its legislation, which will protect the ordinary ratepayer," he said.

"It's important to realise that the legislation will also mean shopping centre and large commercial centre owners will have rates on valuations returned to what they were paying prior to a recent multi-million dollar Appeals Court windfall for Pacific Fair.

Cr Bell said the $600 million dollar loss was a figure first mentioned in parliament by Minister Stephen Robertson, based on real valuations. He said an independent analyst had confirmed it to be correct.

"We continue to urge the state government to proceed with its legislation without delay and recognise the campaign against it for what it is – a greedy grab by the big end of town at the expense of the ordinary ratepayer," Cr Bell said.

A Property Council spokesman told the ABC that it disputed the $600 million figure.

"We've also done the calculations," he said. "Of the 300 outstanding appeals, worst case, if those appellants were successful, at most the amount of rates that would have to be paid would be around the order of $7 million to $10 million.

"It's a very big difference, isn't it?"


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