Ex-Brisbane mayor calls for churches to pay rates

Jim Soorley

Former Brisbane Lord Mayor Jim Soorley has called for all churches in Australia to pay rates and taxes, The Courier-Mail reports.

Mr Soorley, a former Catholic priest, said some of the money should go to the victims of child abuse by the clergy.

He also accused some churches of profiteering and abusing their rate-exempt status by banking large tracts of land.

'Why should they be exempt?' Soorley said.

'Rates are collected to pay for vital infrastructure in our cities. The churches and their followers use public infrastructure and they should pay their share.'

He said the churches had squandered much goodwill with shameful criminal behaviour.

He singled out the Salvation Army, the Catholic Church, and the Anglican Church for special criticism for harbouring paedophiles.

'We have seen many crimes inside these institutions. Their behaviour towards kids has been disgraceful, historically.

'Why should we still be paying for them?'

He wants rates collected to be diverted towards victims of crime for the first 10 years.

He stressed he was not 'bagging' the churches or hardworking, decent clergy.

'They do a lot of good things,' he said.

However, Brisbane Archbishop, Mark Coleridge, said Mr Soorley was 'out of touch with reality.'

FULL COVERAGE

Former mayor calls for all churches to pay taxes, and donate it to victims of child abuse (The Courier-Mail)

PHOTO: Sunshine Coast Daily 

 

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