Phillip Thompson kicks up stink over toilet tax
Member for Herbert Phillip Thompson is calling on the Townsville City Council to show some compassion and waive a sewerage charge that is crippling already-struggling accommodation providers.
Mr Thompson has written to Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill asking for the $945-per-toilet charge, known as the ‘pedestal tax’, to be forgiven in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
“This charge is ridiculous at the best of times but especially when tourism operators have been brought to their knees because of the effects of the pandemic,” Mr Thompson said.
“Hotel and motel operators in Townsville have had barely anyone walk through the doors over the past few months, let alone use a toilet.
“We’ve already seen instances of motel operators struggling to negotiate rent relief from their landlords because of the State Government’s inaction to implement the Commercial Tenancy Code of Conduct.
“Just days after finding out they’d had a small win knowing they could avoid eviction, they’ve received this new blow in the form of a rates notice worth tens of thousands of dollars.”
Banjo Paterson Motor Inn owner Annette Langdon said the vast majority of the 31 toilets on her property haven’t been used in weeks.
“In the rooms where we’ve got one toilet in each room our occupancy was down to 10 and 12 per cent and yet we’re still paying that pedestal tax on every single toilet. They’re not even being used,” Ms Langdon said.
The motel operator said she had tried to negotiate the charge with the Council in the past but had been ignored.
“We tried after the floods last year, they said they would look at it. We never ever heard anything back, we’ve never been able to have a discussion,” she said.