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Latest NEWS: Boundary Submission


B.U.R.R.A. Boundary Submission

Boundary Adjustment: The Issues

Palerang's Broke and needs fixing

At a meeting of B.U.R.R.A. held on 17 August 2006, there was strong support for a review of the Palerang Shire boundary and for the option of Burra, Urila and the part of the Royalla Estate not already within Queanbeyan to be re-located within the QCC area.

This dissatisfaction had been fuelled by successive rate increases coupled with diminished services following the local government amalgamations which saw the old Yarrowlumla and Tallaganda shires merged to form the Eastern Capital City Regional Council, subsequently re-named Palerang Shire. Since the amalgamation, Palerang Council’s financial position has gone from bad to worse, with the cost of staff salaries alone exceeding rates income by about $1.5 million per year.

In the 2006-07 financial year, the NSW Minister for Local Government allowed Palerang Council to increase its rates by 9.9%. Palerang foreshadowed that it will apply for a 9.9% rates increase every year for the next five years as it believes this is the only way to cover its debts and meet its ongoing expenses. This increase in rates will not lead to improved or enhanced services to our area, and may involve a futher diminution of services.

The ‘last straw’ for many residents was the imposition of the $90 per year, per property, waste management fee, part of which covers the cost of access to the paper, cardboard, glass, cans and PET recycling bins in various locations in the Burra-Urila-Royalla (B/U/R) area.

The Options

B/U/R residents were faced with the following options:

  • Accept that Palerang’s financial position is unviable without the imposition of substantial rate increases and put up with the rates rises every year together with little or no improvement in services; or
  • Lobby for our area to be included in the QCC area.

Rates Comparison

At the B.U.R.R.A. meeting on 17 August some residents expressed concern that, if we were successful and joined the Queanbeyan City Council (QCC) area, we might be going "from the frying pan into the fire" as far as rates were concerned. They wanted to know if they’d be better off or worse off financially under QCC.

We did some research and found that Queanbeyan and Palerang have slightly different bases for calculating rates which means that, for 2006/7, rural residential ratepayers would have been slightly better off in Queanbeyan than they would be in Palerang. This information was presented to the community in a leaflet distributed to all households in December 2006.

Since then, all properties have been revalued by the Valuer General of NSW. Palerang has successfully applied for a 10.31% rates increase (up from the 9.9% increase they previously said they would seek). Therefore, the revised rates comparison figures are:

rates comparison table for 2007-8 to 2011-12

Property Valuation 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 Difference in
rates between Palerang
& Queanbeyan
in 2011-12
PAL
QBN
PAL
QBN
PAL
QBN
PAL
QBN
PAL
QBN
Dollar value
%
$200,000 $734 $733 $797 $759 $867 $785 $944 $812
$1029
$840
$189
22%
$250,000 $812 $821 $883 $850 $961 $879 $1048 $910
$1143
$941
$201
21%
$300,000 $889 $909 $969 $941 $1056 $974 $1151 $1008
$1256
$1043
$213
20%
$350,000 $967 $997 $1054 $1032 $1150 $1068 $1255 $1105
$1370
$1144
$226
20%
$400,000 $1045 $1085 $1140 $1123 $1244 $1162 $1358 $1203
$1483
$1245
$238
19%
$450,000 $1123 $1173 $1225 $1214 $1338 $1256 $1461 $1301
$1597
$1346
$251
19%
$500,000 $1201 $1261 $1311 $1305 $1432 $1351 $1565 $1398
$1711
$1447
$263
18%
$550,000 $1279 $1348 $1397 $1396 $1526 $1445 $1668 $1496
$1824
$1549
$276
18%

The table has been calculated using the following rates models, which are those in force in Palerang and Queanbeyan for 2007/8. Rates models can change from year to year.

  PAL QBN
Waste Fee $90 $30
Base Rate $332 $352
Ad Valorem 0.001558 0.001757
Planned future rates increase 9.9% 3.6%

 

 

 

 

Services

We canvassed the views of a small number of residents whose properties were transferred to the QCC area during the last local government amalgamation. All were initially opposed to the transfer but they now hold positive or neutral views. Here’s what they had to say about QCC.

Roads

The frequency and standard of maintenance is much improved. Dangerous overhanging trees have been lopped. Noxious weeds on verges have been sprayed.

Consultation

Council consults with the community and takes notice of ratepayers’ views. For example, Royalla residents expressed concern about the impact of a hostel at Royalla and Council rejected the development application. Staff are generally helpful and good at dealing with enquiries. They return telephone calls. Development applications seem to be dealt with faster and planning staff are helpful.

Waste Disposal

Residents were asked if they wanted garbage collection but they turned this down. A recycling service is provided at the Queanbeyan depot and at three other collection points. On three days a year the depot accepts large items such as fridges, etc. at no extra charge. This service costs $30 compared to Palerang’s $90.

Rural Fire Service

QCC is supportive of the rural fire brigades. 5 councillors attended a recent brigade meeting in the QCC area.

City vs bush

Rural residents did not feel disadvantaged by being a minority group in the Council area. There is no tendency to overpopulate the rural area with inappropriate development and QCC’s development interest is focussed on extensions to the town areas which are already approved, eg the Googong township.

The issues, in a nutshell

  • Palerang is not a viable economic entity without large rates increases over the next few years.

  • Queanbeyan is financially stable, with large reserves and a large ratepayer base enabling costs to be spread more widely and evenly.

  • Palerang’s only hope of increasing its ratepayer base is more development in our rural and village areas.

  • QCC would consider, in the normal way, any applications from rural residents who wish to subdivide. However, QCC does not see rural subdivision as its main focus for increasing its ratepayer base. Instead, its focus is on the development of new urban areas such as the Googong township.

  • Our area is geographically isolated from the rest of Palerang Shire.

  • Our community of interest is with Queanbeyan and Canberra, not with Bungendore and Braidwood. Most of us use the roads and other services in Queanbeyan far more than Bungendore or Braidwood.

The next step: Petition for change

Given all the above, B.U.R.R.A. felt it was appropriate to provide residents in the Burra, Urila and Royalla area with the opportunity to lobby for a boundary review to relocate our area within the QCC boundary.

Section 218E of the Local Government Amendment (Amalgamations and Boundary Changes) Act 1999 No 38 says that a proposal for a boundary change may be made by an appropriate minimum number of electors. For a proposal relating to only part of an area (eg part of Palerang Shire) the minimum number of electors is 250 or 10% of the voters in the area, whichever is the less. Section 218F of the Act says that, on receiving a proposal, the Minister must refer it for examination and report to the boundaries commission or to the Director General who will then consider the proposal and make a recommendation to the Minister, who may or may not agree to implement the proposal.

In September 2006, B.U.R.R.A. started collecting signatures on a petition in support of a boundary change. We distributed two information flyers to each letterbox in Burra, Urila and Royalla in December 2006 and March 2007. Accompanying each flyer was a petition form to be completed, signed and returned to a PO Box or a roadside letterbox in Burra. Two additional articles were published in The Intermittent, the community newsletter of Burra.

By April 2007, we had collected the 315 signatures – approximately 40% of enrolled voters of Burra, Urila and Royalla.

B.U.R.R.A. Submission to Boundaries Commission

In May 2007, a working group of B.U.R.R.A. finalised the proposal for the boundary change and submitted it to the NSW MInister for Local Government.

Related links

See Latest News for updates on the progress of the B.U.R.R.A. Boundary Submission

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Last updated: 28 March, 2012

© 2007 Burra Urila Residents and Ratepayers Association Inc