January 16, 2021

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Douglas Shire Council / Mayor Supports Rate Discount and Waiving Fees for Billionaire

2 min read
Mayor Kerr supported giving a rate discount and waiving the development fees for the Crystalbrook Collection at a Special Council Meeting on August 10, 2020. Kerr is on record voting against a freeze on rates and fees for struggling Douglas Shire residents, businesses and ratepayers, proposed by Councillors Zammataro and Noli. However, he supports giving financial relief to one of the world’s richest men....

Mayor Kerr supported giving a rate discount and waiving the development fees for Crystalbrook at a Special Council Meeting on August 10, 2020.

Tourism and hospitality group, Crystalbrook Collection is an Australian business arm of Dubai-based Ghassan Aboud Group (GAG) – headed by billionaire businessman and philanthropist Ghassan Aboud. Kerr is on record voting against a freeze on rates and fees for struggling Douglas Shire residents, businesses and ratepayers, proposed by Councillors Zammataro and Noli. However, he supports giving financial relief to one of the world’s richest men.


Councillor Scomazzon moved the motion and it was seconded by the Mayor. The motion proposed: to “ … waive the development application fee for the Crystalbrook Marina…”and to “… provide a rebate on the Crystalbrook Marina general rates to offset the cost of the continued operation of the Slipway, not to exceed twenty per cent of the total general rates payable…”


It is our understanding that Councillors Noli and Zammataro explained the unjustness of giving a 20% rate discount and fee waiver to a billionaire, yet increasing rates, fees and charges for the residents, businesses and ratepayers of the Douglas Shire in these unprecedented difficult economic times.

In the end, Councillor Scomazzon voted against her own motion and only the Mayor voted for it. It was lost four against the one Mayoral vote for the motion.

We are grateful to Councillors Noli and Zammataro for their unwavering and consistent support for all the residents, businesses and ratepayers of the Douglas Shire.

The silence of the Douglas Shire Ratepayers Association is deafening, which leads us to question if they are really a genuine representative organisation or just an outspoken partisan political lobby group.