Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk has refused to publicly commit to cutting 1.9 per cent of the city's rates that have been directly attributed to the carbon tax.

In a move that attracted the ire of then Treasurer Wayne Swan in 2012, Brisbane City Council added 1.9 per cent to annual rates notices to cover what it said was a $15 million cost to council.

As widely expected, the controversial tax was abolished in last night's federal budget. 

But when asked by independent councillor Nicole Johnston at Tuesday afternoon's Brisbane City Council meeting if it would mean a rate cut next financial year, Cr Quirk said he would not speculate.

"We are firstly dealing with a hypothetical - tonight's budget has not been brought down yet and we don't know what the detail of that budget is yet," he said. 

"In terms of anything else, we know there is a great deal of legislative change. It needs to go through two houses of parliament.

"I would say Cr Johnston's question is very, very premature.

"The question is very, very premature ... there is a long way to travel in terms of legislative change."

Labor councillor Kim Flesser said ratepayers had the right to ask for a rate cut.

"When the Lord Mayor first made this claim about the $15.8 million cost, he started putting on the rates notices, the impact of the federal government's carbon tax is a 1.9 per cent increase," he said.

"That appeared for four quarters, then someone in the Lord Mayor's office got the idea that Tony Abbott would get rid of the carbon tax and thought, 'aren't the ratepayers going to say, 'we want that money back?'"

However finance chairman Julian Simmonds defended the rates increase.

"Administration costs are a small part of what makes up the impact of the carbon tax on this administration," he said. 

"When the Lord Mayor talked about the impact as part of the budget a couple of years ago, he talked about not only administration costs, but also a 0.7 per cent CPI increase and ever increasing liability ... for Brisbane residents' own rubbish. 

"So don't tell me the carbon tax is not a big impact on residents."