QCLNG takes action over council’s 'unreasonable' rate rise

QCLNG has launched legal action against Gladstone Regional Council over a rates increase which the LNG company says was unreasonable and illegal.

In documents tendered to the Supreme Court in Brisbane, QCLNG has called for a review into council's rates hike in two different land categories.

The LNG company said the two rates hikes were 13 times higher and six times higher than other industrial land categories.

In July, council approved the rates increase to cater for the LNG industry.

One rate was changed where plants operating one production train would pay 77.490 cents in the dollar of land valuation.

The other rate was 154.980 cents in the dollar for those with two operational production trains.

During the construction phase, gas companies have been paying 66.083 cents in the dollar.

QCLNG said in court documents that council took into account "irrelevant" considerations when approving these rates increases, including the company's profits - some which would be made on land that is not within the Gladstone local government area.

QCLNG's legal application also said that its profits did not reflect the land's characteristics, which council did not take into account.

The documents also said the land and its use was a limited burden on council's budget.

QCLNG has called for council's rates-increase decision to be set aside and that council pay its legal costs.

It is believed Gladstone Regional Council has not yet received the legal documents for this case.

Gladstone residents also have been protesting this year's rate rise, with one launching a petition calling for a review of council's budget.

Meanwhile, a QGC spokesman said the company was still negotiating directly with council on future rates charges.

"We have lodged a judicial review to preserve our legal rights, but our preference remains to negotiate directly with Council on the matter," the spokesman said.

"We are optimistic that the matter can be resolved outside of legal avenues."

A spokesperson for council said it was not in a position to comment until it had been served with the suit, if and when that happens.

- APN NEWSDESK



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