Tasmania’s Meander Valley Mayor Craig Perkins, above, has made it clear that being a devout Christian does not exempt one from paying their council rates.
Perkins, according to this report, was reacting to the refusal of the Beerepoot family to pay rates on their home and and a honey-making business because they believe God owns their land.
A council report said:
They steadfastly reaffirmed their belief that the land was not theirs, but that of the Heavenly Father.
The most recent correspondence from the family cited in the report contrasted the council’s adherence to the “law of the land” with the owners belief that:
The report noted the council could pursue the unpaid rates through the Magistrates Court, but recommended the council resolve to sell the properties to recover the money.
Our Heavenly Father is Sovereign and that He reigns today, thus we worship him alone so that his will is established on the Earth … you are asking us to bow down to a false god which is something we cannot do.
The council claimed it was owed $9,332 (about £5,800) in unpaid rates on one property at Mole Creek, and two at Chudleigh, one of which is the Melita Honey Farm.
Perkins said there was no religious exemption from paying council rates.
Under law, people who are owning properties, the title owners are required to pay rates, under legislation, and people’s Christian religious beliefs make no difference.
If we exempted them on this occasion, everybody would start saying they have a religious belief and don’t have to pay rates. So it’s not fair on the rest of the ratepayers, either.
The properties’ owners confirmed to ABC News the council’s account of their comments, but declined to be interviewed.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn