Bundy council confident in process after Fraser Coast woes
BUNDABERG Regional Council Mayor Jack Dempsey is confident his council will not have to pay back any rates or charges to residents after a landmark court ruling found Fraser Coast Regional Council failed to properly issue its annual rates.
Legal experts warned the decision could leave other Queensland councils exposed if they did not pass an annual resolution to levy rates and charges.
Brisbane Supreme Court Justice David Jackson found Fraser Coast Regional Council had issued three years' worth of invalid rates because, since 2014-15, it failed to pass a separate resolution to levy its rates and charges during its annual budget meetings.
Property law expert Tim O'Dwyer said the decision revealed an "appalling” lack of good governance from council.
"Every other council in Queensland should be getting pretty serious legal advice as quickly as possible,” Mr O'Dwyer said.
"If it looks like they didn't pass a resolution, they need to look at what they can do - whether they can pass a by-law to rectify it. Or if they can't, start approaching the State Government very quickly.”
A Bundaberg Regional Council spokesman said the transparent manner in which Bundaberg Regional Council adopts its annual operational plan and budget documents is available on its website.
"Council has an established process of adopting each relevant part of its budget document in accordance with sections of the Local Government Act 2009 and sections of the Local Government Regulation 2012,” the spokesman said in a statement.
Cr Dempsey said the council was comfortable for any level of scrutiny regarding the manner in which it facilitates the adoption of its annual budget and operational plan.
"We are aware of the regulatory requirements surrounding the budget and we act accordingly,” he said.