Gladstone Regional Council CEO Stuart Randle.
Gladstone Regional Council CEO Stuart Randle.

Aurizon exempt from paying rates thanks to 'outdated' law

RAIL freight company Aurizon is exempt from paying rates, but Gladstone Regional Council CEO Stuart Randle says this impacts the local community by not spreading the rate burden.

"The further this rate burden can be spread, the easier it is for everyone to pay their share," he said.

"Aurizon controls $10 billion worth of assets and has a strong presence in our region. Whenever large businesses like this don't pay their way, it is left to the remaining ratepayers to pick up the bill."

The Local Government Act states land with rail corridors is exempt from paying rates, but Mr Randle said this concept was outdated.

"The privatisation of QR National would seem to have been the logical time to remove the exemption, but the ongoing ownership by the state meant that there was a vested interest in preserving the status quo," he said.

"At last check the state retained a shareholding in Aurizon with 8.9%, so it is unlikely that we will see any change."