South Burnett Regional Council Generic
South Burnett Regional Council Generic Michael Nolan

No more free hall hire

COMMUNITY groups and charities will have to pay more to use council facilities from the start of the next financial year.

The South Burnett Regional Council flagged changes to its policy of requiring councillors to consider applications to waive fees for hiring halls and equipment.

A flat waiver of 50% will apply to groups that meet the criteria and the elected councillors will not vote on individual cases.

Rather, decision will be made at an administrative level and it's hoped this will lead to greater consistency in the discount process by treating everyone equally.

It has the added benefit of bringing in extra revenue.

Cr Terry Fleischfresser said the council was not in the business of giving handouts.

"It is firmly in my belief that this council has to stop being a benevolent society, at the end of the day we are responsible to all rate payers in this region and if council can save costs in a fair and equitable way we should proceed in that,” Cr Fleischfresser said.

Mayor Keith Campbell accepted the budget pressures.

"Council's generosity in this respect is limited in terms of availability of finances, we need to tighten our belt where possible,” he said.

Individual councillors can still give financial support for not-for-profits through their discretionary fund.

Cr Gavin Jones said community groups could apply for extra help from other sources.

"Moving forward the community needs to understand the need to put these costs into their grant applications,” he said.

The changes were raised after the council knocked back applications to waive hall hire fees for Wondai Senior Citizens, Sistas in Sync, the Kingaroy Show Ball and the Watoto African Children's Choir.

They also rejected an application to waive fees for hiring PA equipment by the Burrandowan Race Club.

In the case of the race club, Cr Campbell added the council had already done a lot to support their picnic race meeting.

The new policy has not taken effect yet and won't come into force until after the 2017/18 budget is finalised.

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