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Bre Shire Council goes alone on rate rise


Bre Mayor Vivian Slack Smith. Photo TWH

Ratepayers in Bourke and Walgett shires will face a maximum allowable increase in council rates with both Bourke and Walgett Councils deciding to pass on the full allowable 3.7 per cent increase under rate pegging.

However, Brewarrina Shire Council has decided not to impose the maximum allowable increase of 3.7 per cent and will raise rates by just 2.7 per cent.

Brewarrina Mayor, Councillor Vivian Slack-Smith said the decision not to pass on the full rate increase was aimed at easing the financial stress on households already struggling with the economic impact of COVID shutdowns, floods, and isolation.

“We went for a 2.7 per cent increase due to those financial impacts and we feel that council is in a position to be able to accommodate the lower increase,” Councillor Slack-Smith said.

During Bre Council’s meeting of 24th February several councillors, including Councillor Donna Jeffries and Councillor Mark Brown spoke against implementing the rate rise, citing large cost-of-living increases for shire residents in recent times.

Councillor Angelo Pippos agreed with these concerns but also said that he was concerned about council falling behind in the level of rate income necessary to provide council’s services.

Bourke and Walgett Shire Councils will pass on the full rate increase, with Walgett Council’s General Manager Mike Urquhart saying the increase was unavoidable.

“Electricity prices have gone up, building costs have gone up, wages have gone up and anybody who doesn’t take up the full rate increase is creating a recipe for disaster,” Mr Urquhart said.

“You’ll be playing catch up forever.

“The cost of fuel is to up to 190 cents a litre for diesel and while everything else is going up we can’t sit on our hands and say we are not affected - we are.

“In order for council to maintain services to the community we must have the 3.7 per cent increase as a minimum. […]

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