Stirling Hinchliffe, Minister for Local Government, presented documents to Parliament showing Gympie regional rates were just as illegal as Fraser Coast's. (File)
Stirling Hinchliffe, Minister for Local Government, presented documents to Parliament showing Gympie regional rates were just as illegal as Fraser Coast's. (File) News Corp Australia

Rates fiasco: Case closed after pollies' intervention

POLITICIANS who changed the law after a spectacular rates bungle have effectively handed court victory to a council.

Last November, Justice David Jackson found Fraser Coast Regional Council's rates and charges for three years were invalid.

The council appealed in January.

Justice Jackson's decision was described in some media as a landmark with potentially huge implications for councils statewide.

It was also revealed Gympie Regional Council rates had been just as illegal as those of Fraser Coast.

But Parliament stepped in.

And a law change last month meant local government rates or charges were now valid, even if not decided by resolution at budget meetings.

So Parliament's intervention effectively overruled Justice Jackson's decision.

The drama came after Linville Holdings and Fraser Coast Regional Council battled in court.

At Queensland Court of Appeal, both sides agreed there would be no order for costs.

But Linville asked for a certificate and was granted it to compensate it for appeal costs.

That money comes from a fund established under the Appeal Costs Fund Act.

The appeal court judges said though the law change meant they no longer had to consider the appeal, Linville's case before Justice Jackson was "fairly arguable".

But in this case, the merits were now with the council, the judges said, due to the new law.

The appeal was allowed and Justice Jackson's declaration formally set aside. -NewsRegional



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