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Fees and charges relief to boost community recovery

Many fees and charges will be waived or frozen to support the community through the COVID-19 health crisis and boost economic growth under Council’s 2020/21 Budget to help the region back on its feet after challenging times.

Council’s stringent financial planning has allowed the delivery of the region’s single-largest investment – its $50 million COVID-19 Recovery Package – which includes waiving selected fees and charges.

Council Spokesperson for Finance, Corporate Services and Business Strategy 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,” Cr Rasmussen 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% 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 Spokesperson 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 de-sexed 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% rebate on rates and charges excluding water consumption charges up to a maximum of $200 per year.

For more information about Council’s 2020/21 Budget, visit Council’s website via www.wdrc.qld.gov.au

For more information about Council’s COVID-19 Recovery Package visit www.wdrc.qld.gov.au/recovery

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Media Contact: Western Downs Regional Council Media Office 07 4679 4265