Ratepayer anger over luxury car bill
A southeast council racked up a million-dollar bill buying luxury cars for its councillors and executives.
Logan City Council bought cars ranging in price from $48,500 to $108,000, months before the entire council was sacked in May last year.
The cars included a Range Rover Sport with colour-coordinated bumpers, panoramic glass, and roof and ski racks; an Audi Quattro Q7 wagon; and a V8 Toyota LandCruiser Sahara.
Those three cars alone cost ratepayers more than $315,000.
Other cars bought included a Mini Cooper S, a Jeep Grand Cherokee, a Jeep Trail Hawk, a Range Rover Evoque, a silver Mazda CX9 SUV and seven Toyota Prados.
The Range Rover Sport's basic cost was $75,000 but the council added extras including heated front and rear seats, tinted windows and a snowboard carrier, bringing the total price to more than $102,000, more than three times the price of a new Camry Ascent.
In 2017-18, cars valued at more than $65,094 attracted a luxury car tax of 33 per cent.
For fuel efficient cars, the tax did not kick in until $75,526.
Logan Ratepayers' Association president Rod Shaw said ratepayers were furious they were whacked with whopping luxury car taxes ranging from $6290 to $9884.
He said it was wrong the council had not bought cars from Logan dealers and had purchased V8 cars despite a policy against eight-cylinder engines.
"Two Range Rovers were bought from Gold Coast dealer Bruce Wynton at Southport and the Mini Cooper S was bought in New South Wales," he said.
"Cars bought from Logan dealers included the Audi from Springwood and a Volkswagon Touareg from Hillcrest, which is where the Jeeps were also bought."
Ratepayers will never know the true price of many of the luxury cars as hefty government discounts ranging from $7000 to $13,000 were granted and many of the cars had extras added.
More than $3000 of extras were added to a white Toyota LandCruiser Sahara, including a 3500kg towing kit, roof racks and a trailer harness.
Ratepayers got the total bill of $107,000 for the car in April 2018, a month before former mayor Luke Smith was suspended and forced to hand in his white V8 Toyota LandCruiser Sahara.
Smith was charged with perjury, official corruption and failing to correct his register of interests in April, 2018.
He was banned from driving for six months in June 2019 after crashing a white Honda SUV into a parked car and tree on his way to Meadowbrook KFC in May 2019.
His chief executive, Sharon Kelsey, was driving a Range Rover Sport before her contract was terminated in February 2018.
Former councillor Stacey McIntosh, who was jailed last month, also handed back her council-owned Toyota Prado Kakadu in May 2018, when she was suspended while facing charges for stealing.
After seven councillors and the mayor were charged with criminal offences related to the sacking of chief executive Kelsey in May 2019, the council was dissolved and all councillors handed back their council-owned cars.
Last month, administrator Tamara O'Shea pared back lurks and perks for the next lot of Logan City councillors.
No longer will they be given a car and have their petrol paid.
Instead, Ms O'Shea granted councillors a base annual $21,702.44 allowance which will be paid weekly and have to extend to covering fuel costs.
Councillors in three divisions further away from chambers will get up to $2000 extra a year.
The council's chief executive will get a $33,721 car annual car allowance and the mayor will get $30,349.27.
The policy change came after it was revealed in August a Mercedes Benz was hired for $1000 a week for former councillor Trevina Schwarz while her council-owned Toyota LandCruiser Sahara was being repaired.