Hinkler MP stands by call for councils to halt rates

ALL levels of government must consider what they can do to get the economy moving again as the state emerges from the coronavirus shutdown - and that includes eliminating rates payments.

That is what Hinkler MP Keith Pitt believes, standing by his push for the region's councils to eliminate rates payments for at least six months.

Mr Pitt outlined the measures the Federal Government has taken to support businesses and people.

"The Federal Government has committed billions of dollars to a range of support measures including cashflow assistance for businesses, JobKeeper payments, the coronavirus supplement for welfare recipients and the HomeBuilder grant," Mr Pitt said.

"The new $500 million Local Road and Community Infrastructure Program will see Fraser Coast Regional Council receive $1.9 million and Bundaberg Regional Council $2 million to deliver priority projects with a focus on upgrades and maintenance to local roads and community infrastructure. Both councils will also receive 50 per cent of the 2020-21 Financial Assistance Grant program funding this financial year, which will be $4,614,696 for Bundaberg Regional Council and $3,984,516 for Fraser Coast Regional Council.

"The Financial Assistance Grant program is untied funding, which allows councils to spend the grants according to local priorities."

Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour did not respond directly to Mr Pitt's push for rates relief,, but said the council's budget would be adopted at a special meeting on June 23.

"A key focus of the budget will be how we manage the impact of COVID-19 on our community and council," he said.

"The council has already waived fees and charges for businesses, extended the due date for the most recent rates notice, and we are currently assessing grant applications for community and sporting groups impacted by COVID-19 restrictions.

"Further COVID-19 assistance measures will be outlined as part of the budget.

"We're tackling this financial challenge head on, and will do everything we can to minimise the burden on residents while still investing in the services and infrastructure our growing community needs."