MP calls on Fraser Coast council to eliminate rate payments

UPDATE: The Fraser Coast Council has already announced a $1 million dollar coronavirus assistance package, a response from the council said.

The package includes extending the due date for the current rates notice until June 30, 2020.

The council has also agreed to direct the CEO to report back before June 30 with further rates concessions options for the 2020/21 financial year, update the council's financial hardship policy and consider other measures to reduce the financial impact of the coronavirus on the community.
  Mayoral candidates George Seymour and Jannean Dean both said they would be working toward assisting the community during the pandemic.
  "The number one priority for the new council will be dealing with the pandemic: from health, community and economic perspectives," Cr Seymour said.
  "The new council will need to look at extending the financial assistance package that has been put in place and work with the State and Federal governments."
  Ms Dean said she looked forward to discussing all of the recommendations with the Federal Member.
  "There may be other options that we could consider on the Fraser Coast.
The council is in a strong position to be able to help business and ratepayers in the immediate future," she said.

EARLIER: Hinkler MP Keith Pitt has called on the Fraser Coast Regional Council to not only freeze rates but scrap payments entirely for at least six months. 

Mr Pitt said both councils that formed his electorate,  Fraser Coast and Bundaberg Regional Councils, should eliminate rate payments during the pandemic.

"I congratulate the measures that have been introduced so far, however every level of government needs to play its part," he said.

"The Federal Government has introduced a range of support including cash flow for businesses, assistance for individuals who are now unemployed and stimulus payments.

"Fraser Coast Regional Council has extended the due date for current rates notices and I note that it has asked the CEO to report back with further rates concession option for the next financial year, and update council's financial hardship policy.

"Bundaberg Regional Council has introduced a moratorium on interest for outstanding rates and charges until June.

"This is an unprecedented situation and people need as much help as possible and this is one way our local councils can help both individuals and business."

"The best thing our two local councils can do to help residents and businesses is to freeze rates and not issue further rates notices this year."

The Chronicle has contacted both mayoral candidates, Jannean Dean and George Seymour, and the Fraser Coast council for a response.