- The levy was in place between 2011 to 2017
- Was found to not have been established per state legislative requirements
- 1,650 canal and lakefront property owners are entitled to a full refund
Ratepayers in Redlands, Brisbane, have won a class action in the Queensland Supreme Court yesterday morning following a claim against Redland City Council surrounding an invalid canal maintenance levy.
Originally filed in October 2018, it was argued that residents paid the special levy concerning canal/waterways maintenance including marina special charges from 2011 to 2017.
Special charges were applied to land adjacent to the Aquatic Paradise Canal Reserve, the Sovereign Waters Lake Reserve and the Raby Bay Canal Reserve, and were designed to fund capital and operational expenditure on services relating to these reserves.
In 2017, the charge was found to not have met state legislative requirements as no end-point or dollar projection on the total monies to be collected were defined by the council when the levy was originally set up.
Since then, disputes have arisen about how much individual residents will receive due to the levy’s fluctuation over time. Only part of the funds has been refunded so far.
“This is a win for the community,” said local residents Simon and Sarah Akero, who have been living at their lakeside property for twenty years.
“Ratepayers have taken back a bit of control over the levies imposed by the council,”
“Transparency is really important when councils are charging the community an unjust fee. This will make councils think about what they’re asking residents for, and will ensure that there is accountability for every dollar asked of us in future.”
Simon and Sarah Akero, local residents
Augusta Ventures funded the class action with Shine Lawyers representing the ratepayers.
“Augusta is very pleased to work with Shine Lawyers in this matter with its funding helping to promote access to justice,” said Augusta’s Managing Director, Neill Brennan.
Tristan Gaven, Shine Lawyers‘ special counsel, said 1,650 canal and lakefront property owners are entitled to a full refund for invalidly raised levies.
“We brought this action years ago, to ensure ratepayers’ money is back in ratepayers’ pockets,” said Mr Gaven.
“This win is a testament to people power and what standing up for what you’re owed, can achieve”
“It’s about accountability and council doing right by its ratepayers.”
Tristan Gaven, Shine Lawyers