Mayor Bob Abbot addresses the inaugural meeting of the Sunshine Coast Regional Council at the Innovation Centre at the University of the Sunshine Coast. Photo: Brett Wortman/bw173861p
Mayor Bob Abbot addresses the inaugural meeting of the Sunshine Coast Regional Council at the Innovation Centre at the University of the Sunshine Coast. Photo: Brett Wortman/bw173861p

Rates rise by ‘cup of coffee’ a week

Sunshine Coast homeowners will pay on average between $91 and $143 more this year, and the cost for landlords will be as much as $304 under new rates structures passed by the Sunshine Coast Regional Council last week.

Mayor Bob Abbot defended the average 7.5% increase, saying it was akin to a beer or a cup of coffee a week.

Rates have risen 6.5% in Caloundra, 9.2% in Noosa and 8.9% in Maroochy.

Rental property owners have copped the highest increase, with the average rates rise on an investment property being between $109 for a unit in Caloundra and $304 for a house in Noosa.

Rates on investment properties in the former Noosa shire have risen 17.6%, 16.6% in Maroochy and 13.3% in Caloundra.

Pensioners will still receive a rates discount, in line with previous discounts.

The council’s budget totals $673 million, including $498 million operating expenditure, $168 million capital expenditure and $25.2 million for repayment of loans.

Mr Abbot said the rate rise equated to about $1.75 to $3 a week for the average ratepayer and was the best council could offer, given the current economic climate.

“(It) might mean one less packet of cigarettes or one less beer, or whatever,” he said.

“I understand it’s an imposition they probably didn’t want ... (but) the cost of fuel can rise that much in a tank in a day, so $3 a week over 12 months to give them the level of service they want and they’ve already got, I don’t think is unfair.

The changes will affect more than 96,000 Coast homeowners.

“Even three days ago, I still thought 9.5%, maybe 10%, but we’ve managed to get it in under that and I’m really happy with that,” Mr Abbot said.

“I was considering there might’ve been one or two initiatives like the transport levy but the councillors said no not this time, it’s too expensive for the people of the Sunshine Coast with the troubles they have been having with fuel and interest rates.”

Mr Abbot said it was the budget he never thought would happen, labelling yesterday’s adoption meeting a “meritorious day”.

“Three months to even bring together the three budgets was awesome,” he said.

Infrastructure spending remains a priority, with $212 for capital works and $17.5 million for operational projects.

Roads, waste management, waterways and coastal infrastructure have received the most funding.

Environmental programs and projects worth $8.8 million have been approved while tourism and economic development received an $8 million boost, including money for events, economic development projects and further funding for the Connecting the Coast broadband infrastructure.

Budget spending by division

DIVISION 8

Building and facilities

Sunshine Coast Airport

– $11,645,281

Waterways and coastal infrastructureMaroochy River groynes investigation to replace – $100,000

Transportation

Ten bus stop shelters, David Low Way – $125,000

Ocean Drive, Mudjimba off-road shared pathway (Cottonwood Street to Nortth Shore Road) – $440,000

Ocean Drive, Twin Waters off-road shared pathway – $60,000

DIVISION 9

Building and facilities

Three new cabins at Coolum Caravan Park – $220,000

Renew public toilet block, Point Arkwright – $220,000

Parks, bushland and open space

Tickle Park, Coolum Beach – $80,000

Lions Park, Coolum – $20,000

Jack Morgan Park – $14,000

Birrahl Park $30,000

Waterway and coastal infrastructure

Stormsurge investigation and design – $50,000

Beach fencing – $20,000

Beach access – $80,000

Strategic land planning

Sunshine Motorway, Coolum – $1,600,000

Transportation

Russell Street pathway, Coolum – $40,000

Coolum Integrated Transport Plan – continuation

DIVISION 11

Building and facilities

Peregian Beach community centre and car park – $350,000

Parks, bushland and open space

Peregian Beach, Persimmon Park playground – $50,000

Waterways and coastal Beach access at South Peregian Beach – $50,000

Transportation

David Low Way South Peregian corridor improvements – continuation

Various cycleways and pathways – $360,000.


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