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South East Councils advise waiving fees and rates

In a media address this morning Bega Valley Mayor Kristy McBain said that her Council will look at waiving all development applications, all fees for waste and demolition fees, excess water fees and provide every rate waiver that they can with a full report already scheduled to come to her council. Snowy Valley's Mayor voted at their extraordinary meeting to support the waiving of the following fees and charges as outlined in this report for the properties destroyed and/or damaged in the recent fire events: • Water and Sewer charges; • Waste fees; • Development Application, Complying Development and associated fees; and • Interest on Water charges and General rates instalments. On January 7th Shoalhaven City Council advised its residents that all its operating Depot’s would be waiving fees on green waste. The Sholhaven Council held its Extraordinary meeting on Monday, 20 January, 2020 to revise its protocols and to initiate required actions identified as required from a fire event review. In a media release issued today Labor Shadow Minister for Local Government, Greg Warren has called on the Berejiklian Government to subsidise council rates in fire-affected communities for the next two quarters.

"Communities throughout NSW have been devastated by the recent bushfires, the last thing they need is a rates notice to arrive at their doorstep, if it’s still standing.

"Councils are bound to compulsorily send out rate notices, whether they want to or not as directed by the State."

"Many councils are in the process of issuing their quarterly rate notices and this is the last thing families need as they struggle to put their lives back together. This is a financial burden that they simply shouldn’t have to bear."

"It’s times like these where governments need to step up. That’s why we’re calling on the NSW Liberal Nationals Government to subsidise the rates of fire-affected rate payers for the next two quarters. Subsidising the rates of home owners and fire-affected communities is a small but significant step that this State Government must take."

Questions asked of Eurobodalla councillors able to be contacted today indicate that, as yet, they have not formally met to discuss any waiving of any council fees.

Eurobodalla councillors, to date, have only received one informal briefing from staff that lasted 1.5 hours with limited time made available at the end for any questions. As such there were no questions offered. While they were told it was not a confidential meeting and that notes would be taken these notes are not for public distribution.

In most instances the questions that have been asked of councillors contacted by the community regarding fees, from tip fees to DA fees, has been "I don't know". Both Councillors Mayne and McGinlay have called for an extraordinary meeting three times however each has been refused by the majority of their fellow councillors.

Eurobodalla councillors will come back to the chamber for the first formal meeting of 2020 on February 11th at 9:30am after a two month absence.

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