May 17, 2022
South Burnett Regional Council’s fees and charges are likely to rise by an average of 3.5 per cent from July 1.
The increases, if approved, will be the biggest in almost a decade, reflecting inflationary pressures in the wider economy that have pushed up most people’s cost of living.
At last Friday’s Budget Meeting, Councillors gave preliminary approval to the 2022-23 Fees and Charges Schedule as part of their Budget preparations.
The Schedule sets out Council charges for providing services such as dog registrations, hall hire, camping fees at the two dams, swimming pool entry charges etc.
It also sets fees for building and plumbing services.
Friday’s meeting was told most charges had risen in step with the CPI.
The main exceptions were statutory charges levied by higher levels of government that Council has no control over.
However, water standpipe and dog registration fees – which are included in the first draft of the 2022-23 Fees and Charges Schedule – may be altered at a future meeting, pending detailed discussions by Councillors on both topics before the document is formally approved.
By law, all Councils are obliged to recover the costs of providing services to the community but they are not allowed to use fees and charges as a revenue source.
Council generally approves its Schedule of Fees and Charges one to two months before the new financial year to allow staff time to update Council’s information and billing systems.
The new charges will not come into effect until July 1.
Historically, the SBRC’s fees and charges rose by 2.5 per cent in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 in line with the CPI.
This dropped to 2 per cent in 2017, 2018 and 2019, and fell to zero in 2020 at the height of the COVID pandemic.
But last year they rose by 1 per cent as the economy began to return to normal.