8 July, 2024

Rates confusion cleared up

CONFUSION over two pensioner council rate subsidies has been cleared up by Cairns Regional Council.

By Nick Dalton

Pensioner rates (Picture: Butsaya/iStock)
Pensioner rates (Picture: Butsaya/iStock)

Pensioner Lynda Kloss told Cairns Local News she was bewildered about the two rates.

She said Mayor Amy Eden had stated the pensioner ratepayer subsidy would be increased to $320 per year.

“However, in discussions with CRC rates concession department, I was advised that the old pension concession rate was 40 per cent of the general residential charge portion of the rates bill,” Ms Kloss said.

As an example, on my February 14, 2024 rates account this discount would be $589.46 per six months (more beneficial to pensioners than the July 1, 2024 concession).

“I was advised that ratepayers currently on this pension concession rate will continue til it’s phased out (date unknown) or til they sell their property.

“I was advised that pensioners eligible from July 1, 2024 will receive the quoted $320 per annum and reduced emergency levy of approximately $24.

“I was surprised to learn that there would be two different pensioner rate discounts running concurrently, that the date for one pensioner rate discount had not been decided and that the pensioner rates discount had been considerably decreased at this difficult time for pensioners.”

A council spokesman said there were two pensioner concessions available: one that applied to those who had been receiving the concession prior to July 1, 2022, and those after July 1, 2022.

“Pensioners receiving the concession prior to July 1, 2022 will continue to receive a 40 per cent discount off the general rate levy to a maximum of $1350 per annum,” he said.

“For a pensioner on the median yearly general rates levy of $1314.14, this will be a $525.64 saving. This remains in place until they sell their property.

“Council introduced a new concession policy in 2022/23, with new pensioner concession approvals (from July 1, 2022) to receive a flat $300 concession.

“This was increased to $320 this year, the same percentage as the rates increase (6.7 per cent) to ensure the benefit to pensioners was not diminished.

“In addition, council relaxed eligibility criteria, which enabled approximately 1200 additional pensioners to receive some level of concession under the updated policy.” 


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