Providers and residents are threatening legal action over Clarence City Council’s decision to charge Not For Profit villages general rates, saying they will stretch pensioners’ budgets.
Previously, they have been exempt from paying the rates for each individual home.
So how much will residents have to fork out because of the change?
A hit to the budget
They’ve been warned they will need to find an average of an extra $40 a week to pay the charges.
Chairman of the Queen Victoria Home resident committee Owen Winter has told the ABC they should continue to be exempt.
“We don’t have any garbage collection from the council, we don’t have any street lighting, paving or anything like that — all that is provided from within the facility of the home,” he said.
He also said a court challenge was definitely a possibility.
To pay or not pay
Council had raised the legislation in November last year, but put off introducing the fees until July to allow residents to adjust their budgets. It says it is up to village operators to decide if they impose the rates on their residents.
Hobart City Council has also supported the plan to charge Not For Profits, but Launceston City Council announced last month they had opted against it.
The local Kingborough and Meander Valley councils already charge rates on independent living units.
Both Hobart and Clarence councils say they are acting on legal advice that all independent living units within their boundaries should be charged rates.
A fair decision?
Clarence Deputy Mayor Jock Campbell said last year the change would make the system fairer.
“[It’s] the same for everyone regardless of whether they are in a village that’s under the auspices of a charity or whether it’s an independent operator,” he said.
Former premier and chairman of Southern Cross Care (Tasmania), Ray Groom, which has villages in the council area, said the change was hurting residents.
“I think it’s a sad decision by this council,” he said.
“What support will the Clarence City Council be providing in the future for organisations like the charities that are involved here?”