Budget 2019-20: Rates and Charges

Published: 03 Jul 2019

AT A GLANCE

  • 70% of ratepayers to pay an increase of 1.5% of less on their general rates
  • Land valuations have risen by an average of 7% (some by up to 29%)
  • Rate in the dollar reduced by up to 5 per cent in almost all residential categories
  • Cairns has the fourth lowest debt among 15 similar sized Councils in the State
  • Sewerage, cleansing and water access charges will increase by 1.5 per cent
  • Residential water usage charges will rise by two cents to $1.21 per kilolitre

Cairns Regional Council has today (3 July 2019) announced its general rates and charges for the 2019-20 financial year, with 70% of ratepayers to pay an increase of 1.5% or less on their general rates.

This is the sixth consecutive year Council has handed down a rise in line with CPI, with increases of between 1.5 and 1.75 per cent each year.

Cairns Mayor Bob Manning said the rise reflected the strong financial management that had been pivotal in enabling Council to keep rate rises to a minimum whilst delivering a significant Capital Works program.

In striking the rate in the dollar for 2019/20, Council took into account that land valuations released by the State Government’s Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy have risen by an average of 7% (some by up to 29%), with the median residential land value increasing from $177,500 to $190,000.

“We have responded by reducing the rate in the dollar by up to 5 per cent in almost all residential categories,” Cr Manning said.

“This will assist to smooth out the impact of the higher values and results in 70% of ratepayers receiving an increase of 1.5 per cent or less in their general rates.

“But, importantly, low rates have not cost us the ability to provide infrastructure and services to the level that is expected of a large Council, with $870 million of capital works delivered over the past six years.

“We have also done this and kept debt at an appropriate level – currently Cairns has the fourth lowest debt per capita among 15 similar sized Councils in the State.”

Sewerage, cleansing and water access charges will also increase by just 1.5 per cent, while residential water usage charges will rise by just two cents to $1.21 per kilolitre.

Council has already announced that there will be no increase to Council’s fees and charges for the next financial year apart from two charges connected with commercial waste management (one of which is as a result of the State Government’s new waste levy), and parking costs per hour which will rise by 20 cents.

Cr Manning said if the organisation continued to be prudent in its planning and expenditure, financial modelling forecasts for the next decade indicate a capital expenditure of approximately $1.6 billion, annual rate increases in the order of 2%, and a sustainable level of borrowings commensurate with a growing city.

Council will conduct its annual rates benchmarking exercise next month.

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Last updated: 03 July 2019