Hobart retirement village residents prepared to take council rates dispute to court

August 21, 2016

Angry retirement village residents on Hobart's eastern shore are willing to take legal action if a decision to charge rates on retirement housing is not reversed.

Clarence City Council has pushed ahead with a move to charge not-for-profit providers, who were once exempt, a general rate.

A community meeting between councillors and residents from across the council area was held today at Queen Victoria Home in Lindisfarne.

Residents at the village were told they will have to find on average an extra $40 a week.

"I just manage to make ends meet at the moment. Any extra will make it rather hard for me," one resident told the room.

Queen Victoria Home resident committee chairman Owen Winter said they should continue to be exempt.

"We don't have any garbage collection from the council, we don't have any street lighting, paving or anything like that — all that is provided from within the facility of the home," he said.

Mr Winter said a court challenge was possible.

"I think that's the way it will end up and that's a great pity," he said.

The council said it had received legal advice it can charge a general rate, citing a 2012 court decision relating to properties in the Meander Valley in northern Tasmania.

Clarence City Council has a number of independent living estates in its area.

Alderman Heather Chong said it was important residents made a contribution.

"It's not about getting more money, it's about the spreading the cost of running the municipality more equitably," she said.

'A sad decision by this council'

Former premier Ray Groom, who is chairman of Southern Cross Care which has estates elsewhere in the council area, was at the meeting and said the change was hurting residents.

"I think it's a sad decision by this council," he said.

"What support will the Clarence City Council be providing in the future for organisations like the charities that are involved here?"

The council said it was up to service providers whether they passed on the fee to their residents.

Alderman Richard James was the only one to vote against the motion.

"I think we need to have a review of this," he said.

Hobart City Council will also be charging not-for-profits but Launceston City Council last month opted not to.

Many other councils will wait to see how these currents disputes play out.


Read more at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-22/retirement-village-residents-up-in-arms-over-council-rates/7775342

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