Lowest rates of 12 cities

IPSWICH Mayor Paul Pisasale doesn't normally crow when the city finishes last on a list but when it's a table of council rates he makes an exception.

Ipswich City Council finished on the bottom of a list of average annual residential rates for 12 cities in Queensland and northern New South Wales.

The list for rates this year was compiled by The Queensland Times and some of its sister publications in the APN group.

The figures in the list include water excess, sewerage, cleansing and road charges – where they apply – but excluded water consumption charges and special levies.

Mackay tops the list, showing its ratepayers forked out an average $2478 in rates this year, closely followed by Grafton ($2424) and Fraser Coast ($2359).

The loss of State Government subsidies, urgent roadworks and a tough labour market have been blamed for Mackay's high rates.

At the other end, the list shows Ipswich ratepayers, on average, paid a relatively paltry $1297 with Tweed Heads ($1713) and Sunshine Coast ($1838) the closest.

While happy with Ipswich's position, Councillor Pisasale said he didn't want to gloat over the other cities on the list.

“It's not a competition with other cities; at the end of the day we've got a balanced city,” Cr Pisasale said.

“Ten years ago it used to be the other way around; everyone said we had the highest rates.

“One thing we all have in common, no-one likes paying rates.”

Cr Pisasale said it was all about value for money.

“We've always followed everyone else in terms of rates and tried to make sure any increases are under theirs.

“It's about creating efficiencies and I'd like to thank all the council staff for their co-operation and all the councillors as well.

“We've had no cutbacks; in fact, we've increased services and done things smarter and concentrated on the things that need to be done.”

Not resting on his laurels, Cr Pisasale said Ipswich City Council had to keep fighting to stop rates from getting out of control.

“It's about bringing down budgets for the city ... to get re-elected and bring down budgets that is good for the growth of the city,” he said.

“People talk about growth being difficult but growth managed properly is good for the city.

“One of the things I've always said in all my election material is I won't bring down a budget just to get re-elected.

“That was my election promise, to keep rates down and growth up, and I've done that.

“It's not easy; for example, the cost of fixing a road has gone up 22 per cent.”

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