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Court case could set precedent for all councils, says Miller

THE Supreme Court stoush between the Ipswich City Council and Springfield Land Corporation (SLC) over rating categories changes looms as a precedent case for all councils.

That is the word from Bundamba MP Jo-Ann Miller in relation to the case where SLC has challenged the legality of Ipswich's new rating categories that have restored SLC's general rates for this financial year to pre-2014 figures.

The stoush revolves around $728,000 in rates on a parcel off 666 hectares of SLC-owned land that has been designated for primary production and where it has placed 1300 native bee hives.

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Cr Paul Tully called on Treasurer Tim Nicholls to close the loophole that enables residential land to be artificially classified as primary production land, to prevent councils and the state being denied millions of dollars annually in rates and land tax revenue.

SLC has said it legitimately spent $300,000 on its hive venture, and has all the government approvals to conduct its activities.

Ms Miller said "the case is before the Supreme Court at the moment and the argument with regard to Springfield Land Corporation should be sorted out in the court".

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"The council should wait to see what the outcome of the court is. Then I am sure all levels of government will take note," she said.

"This could be a precedent case for not only Ipswich City Council, but other councils throughout the state, so it is important that we wait for the court to make its decision."

With regard to lost revenues for the state and councils, the QT asked Ms Miller what she thought about the issue generally of developers having residential land artificially designated as primary production land.

"This is not the first time this has happened," she said.

"I understand that some developers have cattle running over land that has no intention of being used as residential land for decades to come."

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Topics:  ipswich city council, native bees, springfield land corporation




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