Thursday, August 24, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
A total of 13 properties belonging to individuals who had not paid their rates were auctioned by the Whitsunday Regional Council last Friday.
The properties in question were a mixture of private dwellings and vacant land.
A Council spokesperson said that arrears needed to “be at least three years for dwellings” and “12 months for vacant land or commercial properties”.
“The process to auction properties only eventuates after every measure has been taken to help the ratepayers clear their outstanding debt,” said the spokesperson.
“Correspondence and conversations take place during the six months up to the auction date.
“Council works closely with the impacted ratepayers prior to this action being taken assisting to facilitate payment arrangements before it reaches the auction listing.”
Once a property reaches the auction listing, Council officers again work with the ratepayer and provide all relevant information on other authorities that may be able to offer financial support or advice if they cannot source payment.
This is the first time in several years that Council has proceeded with the Intention to Sell process, opting not to pursue this during the pandemic-affected years in order to provide some reprieve to an already struggling community.
This year, however, Council decided it was time to reinstate the process.
“It is important for Council to undergo the Intention to Sell process in order to ensure that outstanding rates arrears aren’t increasing which puts a burden on all other ratepayers who pay their rates on time,” said the spokesperson.
Outstanding rates will be “recovered from the sale proceeds” if a property sells.
The Local Government Act 2009 and Local Government Regulations 2012 states that Council does not need to ensure the property is vacant during this process.
There was one signed contract agreement entered into at the auction held on Friday, April 28.