Carbon tax burns hole in budget

THE Federal Government's carbon tax has left a hole in the next Tweed Shire Council budget.

The draft budget the council will consider putting on public exhibition revealed the carbon tax would cost more than $861,000 next financial year.

Tweed Shire Council's director of technology and corporate services Troy Green said the cost of the tax and the State Government's waste levy would increase general rates by 8.36%.

Mr Green said rates could only be increased to include the carbon tax by 0.4% ($200,000), leaving a shortfall of $661,000.

"That is a large amount for our budget," Mr Green said.

"We will need to reduce services in other areas and increase prices in water and sewerage."

He said everyone with a bin would have charges increased by $26.70 to cover the waste levy.

"We have absorbed the (waste levy) cost for the past two years and we just can't do it anymore," he said.

"The State Government is reviewing the levy but we can't absorb any more of the cost."

Councillor Warren Polglase said the higher rates were because of charges not envisaged in its seven-year plan.

The administrators who took over from the council when it was sacked several years ago developed the plan to increase the level of infrastructure spending on the Tweed.

The plan sets a rates increase of 7.5% next financial year, when the plan is due to finish.

"We have now been hit with a carbon tax and an environmental levy which is well over a million dollars," Cr Polglase said.

"Overall there is a lower valuation on land in the Tweed and the rates are quite in excess of where they should be.

"I would like to see council do away with some of the environment services."

Richmond MP Justine Elliot said the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) recommendation translated to about a $3.30 annual increase in household rates in 2012-13, due to the carbon price.

She said nine out of 10 households would get assistance that met their added costs.

"IPART also suggests Federal Treasury modelling may overstate the impact of the carbon price on the cost of living."

Mrs Elliot said the $200 million Community Energy Efficiency Program would also allow councils to apply for grants to undertake energy efficiency upgrades, which would lower potential impacts of the carbon price.

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