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Lockyer valley business owners protest large rates rises

Gatton businesses like this service station are facing massive rate rises from Lockyer Valley Regional Council.
Gatton businesses like this service station are facing massive rate rises from Lockyer Valley Regional Council. Derek Barry

THE business owners of the Lockyer Valley are up in arms at what they see as unjustifiable massive rate increases.

Many businesses have just received their half-year rate notices to find they have been hit with 200 to 500 percent rate rises, especially if their business is a service station or shopping centre, with vegetable packers also reporting steep increases.

The business owners held a meeting this afternoon in Gatton and released a media statement condemning the large rate rises.

"We call on Lockyer Valley Regional Council mayor Steve Jones and all of the councillors to revisit and reduce these massive penalties on business," the statement read.

"The inflation rate and price index is about 3% and wages growth has been steady, so why the 150 to 500% rates raise by council?"

The statement calls on Council to reduce its own operations if it needs to save money.

"Lockyer Valley Regional Council has a large and expensive PR unit, there are savings to be had there," it said.

Small service station owners say they have been particularly badly hit.

Sandy Van Ansem of BP Forest Hill said they were looking at a 213% increase in their rates.

"It would take us three months to recoup that at the bowser," she said.

"Small service station owners will have to pass that cost onto the consumer."

Gatton service station owner Vern Ziebarth agreed and said it could send some owners out of business.

"It's an absolute disgrace, Gatton businesses are already struggling without this extra cost," he said.

Mike Stewart of Plainland Caltex said their rates had shot up from $24,000 to $150,000 a year.

"This significant increase was imposed without any prior consultation and is frankly unsupportable," he said.

"There are a number of other projects including the Plainland Westbound service station, Maddison Ridge and others that will be adversely impacted by this arbitrary decision," he said.

Kev Toohill said the rates for his sheds have gone up 155% because they have been moved from a general agriculture category to a packing shed category.

Today's statement from the business owners said that if the council couldn't keep rises within cost of living, they would call for the resignation of the CEO, mayors and councillors.

The Gatton Star is seeking comment from the council.

Topics:  business, lockyer valley regional council, rates hike


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