Fraser Coast Regional Council meeting, Maryborough.  CEO Ken Diehm.
Fraser Coast Regional Council meeting, Maryborough. CEO Ken Diehm. Valerie Horton

Invalid rates were 'legitimately set': council CEO

FRASER Coast Regional Council CEO Ken Diehm has insisted ratepayers have not been disadvantaged in a major rates bungle over the past three years.

The incident relates to a landmark ruling in the Supreme Court that found the council has issued three years of invalid rates that could have exposed thousands of ratepayers to a rates refund in November last year.

It lead to dozens of Queensland councils checking if their rates had been validly issued.

But new legislation passed by the State Government on Wednesday validated those rates, meaning they are no longer deemed to have been taken from ratepayers unlawfully. Mr Diehm said he didn't believe "there are any members of the community that legitimately believe" they were entitled to a refund.

"It hasn't been three years of "fake fees", those rates built roads, repaired potholes, maintained parks and gardens, ran libraries, caught stray animals and processed building applications," Mr Diehm said.

"They were rates and charges that we believe were legitimately set. But for a particular judge's interpretation, and to remove any doubt both sides of parliament stepped up to the plate to make sure the legislation was corrected."

The council launched an appeal against the Supreme Court's previous decision last month.

Mr Diehm said he would be making sure future resolutions would "strictly comply" with the Local Government Act.

"This isn't an issue that just impacted our council, it impacted more than 25 other Local Governments throughout Queensland," he said.