SOUTH-WEST ratepayers will be forced to pay some of the highest rates in Brisbane following council's $3.1 billion budget handed down last week.
Residential rates in Sumner, Darra, Doolandella, Jamboree Heights, Riverhills and Sinnamon Park will increase by more than six per cent, well above the city's 4.49% average.
Lord Mayor Graham Quirk announced Brisbane residents would pay $1.05 a week more as a result of the increase, but in some areas such as Sinnamon Park, home-owners will be $1.35 out of pocket each week.
Cr Quick said the federal government's carbon tax was the reason for the hike, contributing $15.8 million to council costs and 1.9% of the 4.49% rise.
"I promised during the recent election campaign that I would keep average rates increases to no more than five per cent - if we were not faced with the impact of the carbon tax, the increase would have been just 2.6 per cent," he said.
Council will spend $88 million on flood recovery works this year, including $48 million on road repairs.
A large chunk ($465 million) of the $1.4 billion allocated for infrastructure works to tackle traffic congestion has been allocated to Legacy Way.
About $15.9million in funding has also been given to a suite of economic development initiatives to help Brisbane achieve its goal of doubling its economy within 20 years and create 343,000 new jobs in the next decade.
Despite outgoing costs and a net debt of $1.99 billion, Cr Quirk said the council aimed to save $41 million over the next year.
"I have done my best to keep rates down as low as possible," he said.
But Opposition Leader and Councillor for Richlands Milton Dick was concerned families across the south-west had been forgotten, saying the Lord Mayor had raised rates and charges by almost three times the current inflation rate.
"Graham Quirk's budget is a slap in the face for residents who supported him only a few weeks ago," Cr Dick said.
"This budget shows that his total debt has jumped from $1.65 billion to over $2 billion.
"This means council will have to pay $2.65 million each week just to service council's debt. That's money that would have been better spent fixing local roads and improving safety at key intersections."
Darra resident Charlotte Leech, who lives in the industrial precinct in a house her mother bought more than 50 years ago, said she wasn't impressed with the 6.40% or 86 cents a week increase in suburb's rates.
"We're paying high rates, $2500 a quarter, on dead land," she said.
"For exorbitant rates all we get is the hum of three highways to deal with.
"They [council] don't spend the money they take out of the area in the area. Why do we have to pay for the tunnels they are building in the city?"
Ms Leech's mother Lexie, 85, has paid industrial rates on the two and a half acre property, which in 2011 were $20,000 per annum, until Ms Leech fought to have her parcel of land reduced to residential status.
"It was only classed as industrial because we were the only business here until 18 years ago," she said.
"My mum's a self-funded retiree. She's paid the rates for the past 50 years.
"Now that the council is putting them up again, I've told her not to pay them - there's enough equity in the place until it sells.
"I'd like to see money spent on parks for children, kerb and channelling and repairing the wear and tear on the roads from trucks in Darra."
According to Cr Dick, the budget was a slap in the face to mums and dads who will now have to pay more to register the family pet and to visit the local pool or library.
"Households are already paying $1,048.94 for their water and sewerage charges and on top of that the Lord Mayor has increased the average household rates to more than $1,200," Cr Dick said.
"In my local ward - 10 out of the 11 suburbs will have some of the highest rate rises in the city - making it harder and more expensive to live in Brisbane.
"All of these suburbs are higher than the average rate rise promised by Graham Quirk.
"It's not fair that the battlers in our area are being slugged to pay for the city's soaring debt."