Brisbane ratepayers will be hit with a fares increase of almost 5% from July 1, the city’s biggest fares increase in more than a decade.
- Council net debt increased to $3 billion from $2.8 billion
- Reimbursement for flood-affected homeowners who still cannot return home
- $11 million allocated to implement flood disaster review recommendations
Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner announced the council’s budget would include a 4.93 per cent rate hike as the city grapples with the combined effects of COVID-19 and recent flooding.
For a taxpayer with the lowest minimum rates, the increase per quarter will be $38.48, which will raise the lowest rate bill from $780 to $818 per year.
The council’s net debt has risen to $3 billion from $2.8 billion, and it faces a flood recovery bill of $330 million, plus $220 million in lost revenue over the past few years. previous two years of the pandemic.
Mr Schrinner said the budget was ‘reasonable and affordable’ with a rate hike below Brisbane’s inflation rate of 6%.
“Brisbane already has the cheapest residential rates in South East Queensland thanks to our years of sound financial management,” he said.
The last time Brisbane residents faced a rate hike of nearly 5% was in 2010-11, when rates tumbled by 5.04%.
Brisbane’s inner suburb of Grange faces one of the highest rate hikes at 7.19%, an annual increase of $166.86.
Lota on the Bay has the lowest fare increase of just 1.49% or $24.59.
Rate jump follows ‘unusual year’
The council is also set to tackle the housing crisis in Brisbane, charge landlords who rent out their accommodation on the short-term accommodation market a 50% surcharge on rates – approximately $600 more on their rate bill annually.
A new “transitional accommodation” rate category will be added from July 1, in a move the mayor hopes will encourage landlords to return their homes to the long-term rental market.
Flood-affected homeowners who still cannot return to their homes will be eligible for a $1,000 rate rebate.
Schrinner said he hopes such rate hikes won’t be on the cards for years to come.
“It’s not going to be like going forward, knock on wood. We expect things to normalize in the future,” the Lord Mayor said.
“It’s a one-of-a-kind year, and I want it to be one-of-a-kind.”
Brisbane City Council said Gold Coast residential rates would rise by 4.99%; Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate announced fares and fees would rise by an average of 4.3%.
Gold Coast council budget documents indicate that the general rate increase for the city is 4.99%.
Parking fees to rise, $500 million allocated for flood relief
Suburban neighborhood planning will be undertaken to open up former commercial suburbs to more mixed and residential development.
The council has already begun neighborhood planning in areas such as Moorooka, seeking to increase residential density around train stations and commercial areas.
Ahead of the 2032 Olympics, an international standard bike path will be built in the Murarrie Recreation Reserve for $35 million, to be delivered by 2024.
And while the council has put several park upgrade projects on hold — including scrapping the $30 million Enoggera Creek Sport Precinct plan altogether — the budget includes $244 million for parks and playgrounds in the suburbs.
$500 million will be allocated over three years to meet Brisbane’s flood repair bill, including $180 million for community clubs and sports grounds, as well as financial support from other levels of government.
About $59.6 million will be spent on repairing damaged bike paths such as the Kedron Brook Bike Path, $53.4 million on park restoration, and $39 million on road repairs.
The council’s drainage budget will also double, to $131 million, while $35 million will be spent on trails.
And 11 million dollars will be allocated to the implementation of the recommendations of Report from Paul of Jersey on Brisbane City Council’s response to the flood disaster in February.
Three-hour on-street parking charges in Brisbane will increase by 25 cents per hour to $5.75 and maximum charges on more than four hours of metered parking will be capped at $14.50, an increase of $1 compared to last year.
Parking on weekends between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. is increased by the same amounts at $1.75 per hour and a maximum of $9.50.
Dog registration fees will also increase by $1.90, with owners of a desexed dog to be charged $41.40 in the first year.
Subsequent years will see owners pay an additional $2.55 with fees now at $55.20.
Dangerous dog owners will pay an extra $29 to register their pets at $621.85 per year.
Opposition and Greens say not enough is being done
Deputy Leader of the Opposition Kara Cook said “times are tough” for Brisbane residents struggling with the rising cost of living and that rising rates will hit hard.
“Today’s rate increase will see thousands of residents eventually tip over,” she said.
Ms Cook said the Lord Mayor’s announcement to raise rates by 50% for short-term accommodation was not enough.
“We have 800,000 homes in our city. About 7,000 of them are Airbnb residences – so less than 1% fall into this new rate category. It will be a drop in the bucket,” she said. declared.
“We’re talking about a $4 billion budget. I think Adrian Schrinner and the LNP administration can do a lot more to help housing affordability and the housing crisis in our city.”
Ms Cook said Labor fears the cost of the council’s flagship Brisbane Metro will continue to rise from its initial $944million to its current budget of $1.7billion, with more expected to be invested in the suburbs.
The Lord Mayor said more than 80% of budget investment was in the suburbs.
Union councilor Steve Griffiths said planning for the suburban precinct needed to be community led to ensure “good development” was given priority, “and not crushed, sardine development”.
Greens adviser Jonathan Sri said the PNL administration was “clearly caught off guard by the floods” and not financially prepared to cope.
“Over the past 10 years they’ve concentrated more and more development and more and more public infrastructure on flood-prone land, so they’ve created this problem for themselves,” he said.
He said the budget did not include enough measures to deal with the housing crisis, describing the short-stay measure and suburban proposals as “tokenistic”.
“We welcome the announcement of having a higher rate category for Airbnb properties, but these are crumbs. It doesn’t come close enough to what is needed.”
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