Fire levy: CQ MP demands answers from State Government
THE voice for land owners hit by the Emergency Management Levy has brought the billing issue under the magnifying glass to state parliament.
Late last month, Member for Mirani Stephen Andrew raised the concerns from people within his electorate to the Minister for Fire and Emergency Services, Craig Crawford.
On Friday July 26, Mr Andrew appeared on the Estimates Hearing Program where he asked the minister if he had decided on a plan or action to help affected residents.
But he didn't get the answers he had hoped for.
In response to Mr Andrew's question, the minister denied having made a plan for the levy.
"I do not remember saying anything about a plan for an EML," he said.
"What I said in the media in that area was that the first thing people need to do if they receive a change to their EML...is go back to council and ensure they have been rated properly, that the levy applied to their property...fits within the regulations and the legislation.
"If they have significant concerns, if they truly think they've been unjustly treated, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services has an EML team they can contact for further information."
Mr Andrew said the minister's response was "unsatisfactory and unsympathetic to the older generation".
"Where is the respect and decency for the elderly?" he said.
Mr Andrew had recently been contacted by a woman who was hit with a biosecurity levy due to the fact she owned horses and cattle, an amount he said equalled $179 per property.
Mr Andrew said the next step to resolve the issue would be "a change of government".
The Morning Bulletin was aware of elderly residents over the age of 80 who couldn't afford to pay the cost involved and had applied for loans. which were rejected.
On July 19, it was reported that Mr Crawford said his department was exploring a number of legal options and interim measures to resolve the issue.
This process included deferring or waiving payments while the government aimed to pass legislation, which could take three months to more than a year.
Property owners on multiple lots of land were told in early July they could be out of pocket between $40 and $1000 annually, after a change was made to how Rockhampton Regional Council collected money for the State Government's levy.