Rates rise the last straw for one Fraser Coast family
AT LEAST one Fraser Coast family is planning to pack up and leave town after the announcement yesterday of yet another rates rise.
The 2.5% rise is the seventh consecutive increase under the Fraser Coast Regional Council, and the final straw for Eli Waters woman Joy Oliver.
Mrs Oliver left Fraser Coast yesterday afternoon for a week-long trip to Brisbane, but it may be one of her final return trips.
She said the family was looking for property at Stanthorpe, more than 400km south-west of her Hervey Bay home, as it was simply too expensive to stay.
"We are looking at 32 acres and best of all the rates are only $2000 a year," she said.
It is a fair chunk cheaper than her current bill, which she said totalled about $4000.
"Our rates are $2800 plus $1200 for water on top, not including usage," she wrote on Fraser Coast Chronicle's Face book page.
"We are now one of the most expensive places to own a home with the highest unemployment rate.
"You are successfully killing the towns and soon enough no one will be able to afford to live here."
It will be a bittersweet move for the Olivers, who have owned their present home for nine years.
While there is the positive mix of emotion about the impending move, it is tinged with sadness as Mrs Oliver, her husband, their three children and her father prepare to leave.
"Our family is here and we have some amazing friends and have lots of connections with small businesses here so we will still visit and support the local businesses, (we) just can't afford to live here anymore," Mrs Oliver said.
"In a way it will be a shame to leave, but we have to do what's right for us financially."
And in Tiaro, businessman Mel Harris said he would not pay his water rates bill in protest at the Fraser Coast Regional Council's budget.
Two of Mr Harris's five industrial sheds at Tiaro are empty, he believes partially due to high rates and charges.
This year he would face a 2.5% rise in the minimum general rate and, added on to the water and waste charges, he is likely to have an increase of more than $100.
He said that in protest he would pay his rates notice, but not the full amount of the other charges.
"As for the water charges and garbage ones, I'm only paying what I was paying under Tiaro (council before amalgamation)," he said.
"They want heaps more and I won't pay - especially the water."