PRICE RISE: South Burnett Regional Council has decided to charge more for community groups to use its halls.
PRICE RISE: South Burnett Regional Council has decided to charge more for community groups to use its halls. Michael Nolan

OPINION: Fee changes hurt community

OPINION: South Burnett Regional Council's decision to charge community groups more to use their halls is short-sighted and could damage volunteer organisations.

It's short-sighted because it will force some groups to move away from the council halls as they look for cheaper options elsewhere.

These groups don't make any money and will have to move to a more affordable location, such as a school or church hall.

It is also potentially damaging because it devalues what great work our community groups have done and will continue to do.

In many cases the folks attending these meetings have been using the halls for decades. They probably had their debutante ball or maybe celebrated a 21st birthday party there.

Over the decades they've paid their rates and supported their community through countless fundraisers.

The move won't make much difference to the council's budget.

Take the case of the Wondai Seniors.

They asked for the $150 fee to be dropped.

Instead the group will only get a 50% discount to use the hall.

For a group that charges its members $5 a year to join and $2 to attend a meeting this $75 fee is huge.

But for a council that had a multimillion-dollar budget, $75 is spare change.

While individual councillors may talk privately about wanting to do more, it's worth noting at the last council meeting they voted unanimously to reject the fee waivers.

One can only assume the council will vote unanimously to make the new policy official.