Council rates blunder

ETHERIDGE Shire Councillors have admitted that a mistake was made in setting recent mining rate categories in Etheridge Shire.

The Council admitted the mistake after North Queensland Miners Association (NQMA) protested.

However, rate notices have already been issued, leaving many small north Queensland miners with a bill that the Council has admitted to be wrong.

Etheridge Shire Council maintains that miners must pay the full amount due to be eligible for normal rate discounts even though the amount is higher than they should be paying, according to NQMA president Ralph De Lacey.

De Lacey has sent a request to Queensland Senator Barnaby Joyce to allow rate discounts to be available to those paying the amount after the deadline.

“Many small miners have rate notices showing rates of thousands of dollars,” De Lacey said.

“The Council is willing to accept a lesser amount if the rate payer negotiates a payment scheme, but by doing this the ratepayer will most likely lose the discount,” he said.

“The Council is claiming they have no other option as they are constrained by the Local Government Act.”

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