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May 19, 2022

Rate increases and charges proposed by Richmond Valley Council

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Council consulting withe the Evans Head community over the proposed rate rises and charges. Photo supplied.
Council consulting withe the Evans Head community over the proposed rate rises and charges. Photo supplied.

Richmond Valley Council are proposing a suite of rate increases and charges for residents and businesses for the 2017 to 2018 financial year.

These include:

·       General rates – to increase by 5.50% consistent with the approved special rate variation

·       Waste annual charge – domestic waste charge to increase by 5.18% to $447

·       Waste annual charge – non-domestic waste charge to increase by 10.12% to $468

·       Waste infrastructure charge – new charge of $25 introduced to contribute towards the   construction of a new landfill cell at         Nammoona Waste and Resource Recovery Facility,   and to fund ongoing asset renewals of the waste management program

·       Water annual charges – to increase by 5%

·       Sewerage annual charges – to increase by 1.5% (in line with the rate peg)

‘These proposed increases are essential for the delivery of quality services, as well as helping Council maintain community assets, improve local infrastructure and carry out local government functions,’ said council’s General Manager Vaughan Macdonald

‘No one likes a rate rise, however, Council needs to address not only the revenue side of the business, but also the cost side to the equation. Like in any other business, you have to have the financial means to take care of that business.

‘The economic reality is that as costs continue to go up you need to offset that with increased revenues.

‘The cost of doing nothing is more expensive.’

The Council is currently holding meetings throughout the region to discuss the rate rises and charges with the community. Community consultation has already taken place at Evans Head and Rappville.

Upcoming public consultations are taking place at:

Broadwater: 5.30pm Tuesday 9 May Broadwater-Rileys Hill Community Hall

Coraki: 5.30pm Thursday 11 May, Brandon Hall

Casino: 5.30pm Monday 15 May, Casino Community and Cultural Centre

Woodburn: 5.30pm Thursday 18 May, Visitor Information Centre (CWA Rooms)

The Draft Revenue Policy will be on exhibition until Friday 2 June. The Policy can be downloaded from the On Exhibition page on Council’s website, or you can pick up copies from Council’s Customer Service Centres in Casino and Evans Head, and from local libraries and visitor information centres.

 Submissions can be made in person at Council offices, in writing address to the General Manager, Richmond Valley Council, Locked Bag 10, Casino or via email at [email protected]

 Following the public consultation process, the Policy will be fully considered by the Council at its Tuesday 27 June meeting.

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  1. Only a handful of residents turned out at Evans Head for the community consultation process, such as it was. The GM hardly spoke to the assembled crowd where staff and councillors outnumbered locals. Part of the reason for the poor turnout was council’s Community Report with all the details of the time and date of the consult. It came two days after the meeting was over. Some notice in advance!

    Council had on display its ‘signature projects’ for development across the local government area. One of them includes further development of the Evans Head Razorback Lookout, an area known to be a sensitive location for the Bundjalung People. According to a senior staff member there has been no consultation with that community. Some oversight!!!

    One of things missing from the Evans consultation was further discussion about a future rate rise above the government pegged rate. In my view this should have been the focus of the meeting as the impact of such a cumulative rise over the last five years on ratepayers has been an 83% increase in rates for residents with the people of Evans Head having a much greater rise because of much higher land values. Council has refused flatly to strike a differential rate for Evans Head even though it could do so under the local government act so that ‘fairness and equity’, part of council’s Charter, was met. This is sheer bastardry on the part of council as a secret independent consultant’s report commissioned by them demonstrated unequivocally that there was a big differential between Evans Head and Casino with Evans Head doing more than its fair share of rates contribution. The problem is Casino has the numbers through the amalgamation process and council can do as it pleases.

    Council might have to live within its means and that would be a good thing because of the millions it has wasted on failed projects and ‘incentives’ offered to big developers. Cost overruns are also part of the problem with projects such as the Casino Sport Stadium nearly 100% over budget.

    Council also needs to ‘fess up’ to its handmaiden status to the state government which is cost shifting to local government. The current council is clearly there to do the state government’s bidding with its current push for ‘jobson growth’ with locals picking up the financial, social and environment bill for this latest push for their big developer mates.

    The Evans Head consultation was without question a big fail and some might be inclined to the view that a real effort to let us know about the date and time for the consultation was a deliberate strategy to avoid close questioning about the current unfair rating structure, a very sore point with locals.

    No doubt council will probably now tell IPART when it applies for an above-peg rate that the small turnout at Evans Head was an indication that local residents approved and saw no need to attend. Ipso facto, a vote of confidence for what council was doing when nothing could be further from the truth.


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