Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Ready to Rip Up Rate Bills Residents Set to Act; 'Desperate Times Called for Desperate Measures'

Newspaper article Daily News (Warwick, Australia)

Ready to Rip Up Rate Bills Residents Set to Act; 'Desperate Times Called for Desperate Measures'

Article excerpt

Byline: Marian Faa and

MORE than a thousand people from the Granite Belt have threatened to take drastic action, saying they would consider refusing to pay council rates as part of a push to carry their de-amalgamation campaign through to the very end.

"How far are you willing to go to fight for your freedom?" were the words Reverend Alan Colyer put to a crowd of de-amalgamation supporters on Sunday.

"This has never been done before in Australia."

The rally at sStanthorpe marked a year since the first public meeting held by Granite Belt Community Association, the group spearheading the campaign.

Of more than a thousand people, only five at the meeting said they would not consider taking part in a ratepayer strike.

"A ratepayer strike would get the attention of the world because it's never been done. It has been discussed but no one has had the guts," Rev Colyer said.

The pledge came ahead of today's Southern Downs Regional Council meeting.

At the meeting, local politicians will consider their official position in relation to the community association's de-amalgamation proposal.

For the process to continue, the council must show Minister for Local Government Stirling Hinchliffe it supports the change.

Ballandean Estate Wines client relations manager Leanne Gangemi said there would be no need for a rates strike if local politicians "made the right decision" at today's meeting.

"I just think it is about being in charge of our own destiny," Mrs Gangemi said.

But Warwick Credit Union CEO Lewis von Stieglitz said asking individuals to strike was a "dangerous road to go down" for the community association.

"I think that fails the polite, respectful and professional test," Mr von Stieglitz said.

"It is not appropriate to refuse to pay your taxes. It would put individuals in a very difficult position to be asked to act illegally and improperly. …

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