WA BALLET has won a $20,000 exemption on its annual rates following a fiery clash at Bayswater city council.
Troupe directors pirouetted in panic when they received a $35,000 rates bills—a near 800 per cent increase on their budget—for their new HQ in Maylands.
The bill was due to the value of the old Senses building in Whatley Crescent rocketing after a multi-million dollar heritage transformation.
“In 2010 it was clearly stated and noted the rates WAB should budget for in the business plan was approximately $4000 annually,” ballet chair John Langoulant wrote to the council.
“This figure was subsequently submitted to the state for approval as part of the business plan.”
Cr Marlene Robinson says it’s another case of the WA government bleeding councils dry.
“This is WA Ballet, not Bayswater Ballet, but here is the state again with its begging bowl out,” she says. “If a regular ratepayer can’t pay his rates he can have his home sold, but here we are bailing out the state government. The department of local government said if we granted an exemption it could set a dangerous precedent across the state for all dance studios.”
Cr Alan Radford noted the council had received little recognition or thanks from WA Ballet for the millions of dollars it had poured into the building.
“Woodside is plastered all over their brochures—the council gets very little recognition despite pouring millions into it,” he noted.
Mayor Terry Kenyon says the company is a not-for-profit organisation and had coughed up $11m of its own money when moving from Perth to Maylands.
The council voted to approve the $20,000 exemption and to approach the WA arts minister to set a fixed yearly rate of $4000 plus CPI for the remainder of the lease.
by STEPHEN POLLOCK