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PARADISE AT A PRICE

By Mark Beale

AIRLIE Beach is the most expensive place in Queensland to own a property according to figures from a Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning report.

The report states the average rates and charges for this quiet coastal town are $5019 per year after discounts, putting it $43 ahead of the second most expensive spot at Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast.

Whitsunday mayor Jennifer Whitney did not deny there was a price to pay for living in the resort town of Airlie Beach but she did say the figures in the report were wrong, “so we’re getting the LGAQ to rectify that”.

Cr Whitney conceded even with the correction, “obviously we’re still on par with the Gold Coast” but she pointed out the other flaw in the report was its reliance on averages.

“Averages don’t often project a true story – it’s not always how it appears [and] in Airlie Beach some of the properties are mansions, some have got magnificent views and are worth quite a fortune if they were to be sold,” she said.

“Sometimes that can inflate that average and I think people need to be mindful of that.

“You can manipulate data to represent whatever you want – it’s how you use the material. You need to compare apples with apples… but it makes a good news story.”

Since the report was released some local residents have taken to social media to express their views. Some say they don’t mind paying more to live in paradise and others grumble they don’t get much for the rates and charges they pay.

Cr Whitney said people in Airlie Beach were benefiting from the recent upgrades to the Airlie Beach main street and Cannonvale water and sewerage treatment plants.

“And there’s actually lots of things that have been improved to deliver better services,” she said.

“At the end of the day people say shopping’s expensive, they say food’s expensive – I think living in the area it’s something we’re all perhaps traditionally accustomed to and for the lifestyle that we’ve got we’re happy to pay those prices.”

Nonetheless Cr Whitney did promise rates and charges were “something Council’s constantly reviewing”.

According to the report the 2014-15 net average rates and charges per year for Cannonvale were $3495, with Proserpine residents paying an average of $3036 and people in Bowen paying $3511.

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