Lockyer council furious at state 'no-value' levy
THE Lockyer Valley Regional Council and Lockyer MP Ian Rickuss are continuing to butt heads over the introduction of a new State Government levy on top of rates notices.
The council claimed it was being forced, without consultation, to collect the new Emergency Management Fire and Rescue Levy, introduced by the Newman government.
In July 2013, the Urban Levy was reformed to the EMFRL and applied to all properties in Queensland from January 1, 2014.
The change was to ensure a more sustainable funding base for emergency services.
Mayor Steve Jones said ratepayers in the Lockyer Valley should not be charged more for a service that had shown no real improvement in his region in years.
"In 1979, we had the same amount of urban firefighters in the Lockyer Valley as we do today," he said.
"We're still yet to have a full-time fire service, even though our population has increased threefold since then."
"If the State Government was prepared to provide us with at least a 24-hour fire service, then we might reconsider the matter.
"But why should our ratepayers have to pay when the service is no better here?"
Local Member Ian Rickuss said the council's disapproval was due to a lack of understanding about the levy and where the money would be spent.
"Emergency services aren't just about purchasing a new fire truck here and there," he said.
"It's about proper planning, having people trained to do the rescuing and having councils trained so they have plans in place when disasters strike."
Mr Rickuss said it was discovered that emergency services were underfunded by the previous Labor government to the tune of $300 million.
Mr Rickuss said he and State Treasurer Tim Nicolls had offered to brief the council on how the money would be spent, but they had yet to take up the opportunity.