Decade after 70% rate hike, farmers fume over latest hit
HAVING copped a 70 per cent rate rise as part of amalgamation eight years ago, some Gympie farmers have been left wondering why they've been slugged with another huge hike this year.
Lagoon Pocket's John and Jennefer Cameron say they cannot understand the decision to raise their rates by nine per cent given the hit they took when rates were first equalised.
"What's the point of equalising if they're going to be pushed up again?
"Some are more equal than others,” Mr Cameron said.
Mrs Cameron also questioned Gympie mayor Mick Curran's claim early this month that suburban residents "over-contribute” to rural services.
"We've always felt we've been subsidising the city, and now Curran is coming out and saying the city is subsidising us,” she said.
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Mr Cameron said he would like a clearer picture of what funding was headed where.
"I'd like to see where this money is going,” he said.
"What services are city subsidising out here because we haven't seen any.”
They said the rise only added more pain to their budget, which was already straining under the hay and feed increases from the drought.
Primary producer Peter Beattie, who lives next door, has also been left puzzled given the few services he receives.
Mr Beattie, who pays about $11,000 in rates annually, said the council is only required to collect his bins to maintain about 40m of the road that his property fronts - the rest is unmaintained.
All other services the Camerons and Mr Beattie use are in Gympie when they go into town.
They said that combined, they are paying about $15,000 in rates bills this year.
A Gympie Regional Council spokeswoman said their data showed that rural properties' contributions were less than their portion of valuations.
"Rural and Primary Production valuations amount to 54.51 per cent of total valuations and contribute 51.26 per cent of total revenue.
"Greater Gympie residential and commercial valuations amount to 26.9 per cent of total valuations, however contribute 31 per cent of total revenue,” she said.
She said some costs like technology were more expensive to connect in rural areas, but rural services were not separated in the budget.
"Council considers the region's needs as a whole when developing its capital and operational budgets,” she said.