CHARGES WAIVED: See what fees you won’t have to pay in the next 12 months.
CHARGES WAIVED: See what fees you won’t have to pay in the next 12 months.

The council fees you don’t have to pay this year

AFTER an “extremely testing” year for local businesses and families in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Western Downs Regional Council have announced plans to freeze and waive many standard fees and charges, as included in the $50 million COVID-19 recovery package.

Finance, corporate services and business strategy spokesman, councillor Ian Rasmussen, said council was stepping up its support by announcing a zero increase on most fees and charges not already waived under the Recovery Package.

“In the past we have worked hard to manage our finances responsibly and eliminate debt to manage future challenges just like those presented by coronavirus,” he said.

“Thanks to this dedicated commitment, we have been able to implement a range of relief measures to ease the burden on our families and businesses, such as the 50 per cent rates rebate distributed to our retailers in recent months and the waiving of food licensing fees.

“This is continued in 2020/21, with the Budget including a freeze on most other fees and charges such as pool entry fees, standpipe fees, and showgrounds charges.

“After an extremely testing few months, it’s important Council delivers fair and manageable support for those who need it most, and this year’s budget does just that.”

Council spokesman for planning and environment, councillor Andrew Smith, said residents were already benefiting from waived fees and charges as part of council’s community recovery efforts.

“We’ve waived dog registration fees for desexed dogs and puppies to help reduce the financial strain on families during this challenging time, and also introduced lifelong dog tags to make the process more convenient,” Cr Smith said.

“We’ve also waived most building, plumbing and planning fees until 30 June, 2021, which is already delivering direct results to the local economy, with more than 60 building applications received since the COVID-19 Recovery Package was announced.

“We’re also targeting specific developments and guiding future growth with the inclusion of waived infrastructure charges over a two-year period.

“This is a huge benefit to not only local companies delivering the work, but also to the wider region with more construction activity supporting our economy and creating a stronger future for the Western Downs.”

Council will continue to match the State’s Pensioner Rate Subsidy Scheme, offering qualifying pensioners a 20 per cent rebate on rates and charges excluding water consumption charges up to a maximum of $200 per year.

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