PLEA: Eve Kerr, Burnie Collins (centre) and Kel Anderson are hoping they may have success in levelling up sewage charges across the Coast.
PLEA: Eve Kerr, Burnie Collins (centre) and Kel Anderson are hoping they may have success in levelling up sewage charges across the Coast. Patrick Woods

Would you pay higher rates to help hinterland residents?

WOULD you pay $10 a year more for your rates if it could put 600-odd hinterland properties on a level playing field when for their sewage treatment costs?

It's the question being posed by a community frustrated with the costs of pumping out and transporting its sewage.

Kel Anderson owns Mapleton BP and IGA and has done since 1995.

While he's lucky enough to have his own water treatment and sewage system at home, he said he was paying about $13,500 a year for sewage pump-outs at his businesses, on top of rates.

"It's become really expensive and it's very unfair," he said.

With an increase in members of the public using the toilet facilities at the businesses, and a gradual decrease in subsidies for the pump-out service, it was becoming an increasing burden on his business.

He said in the past 6-8 years the subsidies for those with pump-out systems had been scaled right back to a user-pays system.

Mr Anderson said it was frustrating when hinterland residents' rates were pooled and spent on infrastructure projects around the Coast - many on the coastal strips - they were still expected to fork out more than typical home owners with piped sewerage services.

He had no problem with his rates going to the infrastructure projects elsewhere, but he said it would be nice if those on piped sewage could pay a little more than they do at present, to put everyone on the same level.

"Everybody in the shire should be paying the same," Mr Anderson said.

Would you be willing to pay higher rates to allow everyone to pay the same for sewage?

This poll ended on 09 June 2017.

Current Results

No. They chose to live there, it's their issue.


Yes, if it's only $10 more a year and allows us all to pay the same amount.


Maybe, but what if it sets a precedent and more people push for similar rates rises?


This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

It's a fight Division 10 Councillor Greg Rogerson is taking up again, having struggled in the past to receive support from fellow councillors around the region.

Cr Rogerson said the council currently serviced about 600 holding tanks from residential properties and businesses.

He said about 40% of the residential properties used the monthly pump-out service, at a cost of $1379 a year, while about 26% of residential properties used fortnightly pump-outs ($2758 per year) and less than 5% used the weekly service ($5517 per year).

Cr Rogerson added the majority of commercial businesses with holding tank pump-outs used a weekly or bi-weekly service, with some paying "well in excess of $10,000 per year for servicing".

He said a typical residential property owner using sewerage services (piped services) paid about $700 per year, and estimated a small increase of about $10 per year for those people would enable everyone to be charged the same for sewage services.

Mapleton and District Community Association president Burnie Collins said the "whole community" had been frustrated by the situation for a long time.

He said Cr Rogerson and his hinterland colleague Jenny McKay had been fighting the inequity for a long time, but to-date, their push to have the ledger levelled had failed to garner broad support.

The association's pump-out committee member Eve Kerr said she paid more for sewage pump-outs than she did general rates, coughing up $689.65 for pump-outs in six months, compared to $569 for her rates.

She hoped something could be done to level it up for the 600-odd affected properties.

Division 8 Councillor Jason O'Pray, whose electorate covers the coastal strip from Yaroomba to Cotton Tree, said he appreciated where Cr Rogerson and the affected community was coming from, but admitted he didn't think coastal communities would be happy with an increase of their rates.

"Nobody likes a rate rise, it's as simple as that," he said.

Cr O'Pray said most of the community had confidence in a user-pays system for a lot of programs, including waste and sewage management, and said there was an element of buyer beware, as hinterland property owners should research the sewage systems available.

But he also understood the council spent plenty of money on other parts of the region, in particular along the coastline, so in terms of equity across the region, he would have to give serious consideration to a proposal which would level the sewage costs for all ratepayers.

"It's (pump-out charges) an impost on a lot of these people... but we have to remember they choose to live out there and they get the benefits (of open space etc)," Cr O'Pray said.

A public meeting on the issue will be held by Cr Rogerson and McKay at Mapleton Bowls Club at 7pm on June 14.

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