WHITSUNDAY Regional Council has voted to enter into negotiations with the State-owned North Queensland Bulk Ports (NQBP) over more than $1.25million in outstanding rates.

Mayor Jennifer Whitney said NQBP had accumulated this amount of outstanding rates over two financial years, with Council now committed to following a dispute resolution process. "There is a significant amount of outstanding rates and every councillor was in agreement at last week's meeting that it needs to be paid to Council, so as not to impact on Council's bottom line and more importantly the broader community," she said.

Nonetheless, a spokesperson for NQBP claimed the ports corporation had always paid its bills.

"North Queensland Bulk Ports have always paid rates on land where local government charges are legitimately applied and we continue to do so at all of our ports," the spokesperson said.

At last Wednesday's Council meeting councillors voted unanimously for the chief executive officer Scott Waters to enter into further negotiations with NQBP and report back to Council. Cr Whitney noted that all other entities associated with and operating at the port of Abbot Point had paid their rates.

Council and NQBP are now expected to follow the guidelines set by the State Government in relation to dispute resolution.

Topics:  whitsunday regional council

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