RURAL residential property owners across the Bundaberg region, many with multiple holdings, will find a significant increase to their annual rates notices after the State Government's new Emergency Management Fire and Rescue Levy came into effect from January 1.
Under the new legislation, rural residential property owners will pay an annual fee of $90 per parcel of land located outside identified urban areas.
Primary producers are among those exempt from the charges.
Bundaberg Mayor Mal Forman said the council would have the responsibility of collecting the levy to be passed on to the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service.
Cr Forman said the fee of $90.20 per assessment was the amount levied on owner-occupied rural residential properties while vacant land would attract a charge of just over $22.
Eligible pensioners may receive a discount of 20% on their levy.
Cr Forman said the council would retain its current Rural Fire Brigade levy of $30 a year to maintain faith with local volunteer fire brigades.