Leaders warn of rate rise impact on small business
SMALL businesses already under financial pressure will feel the crunch even more if they are one of the 7000 property owners facing an unexpected rate rise this year, according to Fraser Coast business leaders.
Their assessment comes after the Chronicle revealed the Fraser Coast Regional Council sent pre-emptive letters warning of a potential rate rise to 7000 residents throughout the past few weeks.
Two of the region's Chamber of Commerce presidents agreed the letters could have been better implemented to avoid the unplanned stress the rise would have on small vendors.
Sandra Holebrook, Hervey Bay's Chamber of Commerce president, said small businesses hit by the increase would be under pressure to sell more to cover the additional costs, which would put more pressure on an "already tight" situation.
"It's very hard to plan for increases of this kind, and it creates issues within the business community," Ms Holebrook said.
"It's a tricky situation, because you want the rateable value to go up from a real estate perspective, but from a business perspective it's another cost that's not planned for."
Tiaro and District Chamber of Commerce president Darryl Stewart said he wasn't aware of any properties in Tiaro getting a rate rise, but agreed an increase would add more stress to businesses in the region.
"There's been a major business downturn because of the dry conditions, and then we have the outrageous increases costs of electricity," Mr Stewart said.
"I've always got a major problem with increased costs, no matter what.
"It could have been better planned and have happened over a period of time, rather than immediately."