PERTH city council CEO Gary Stevenson has taken WA premier Colin Barnett to task over council rates.
The premier has criticised councils for raising rates too high but Mr Stevenson says WA government cost-shifting is forcing councils’ hands.
At Tuesday’s finance committee meeting of the council, Mr Stevenson pointed out that while “the premier went on talkback radio talking about councils with high rates…three out of the first five items in our agenda are to do with the state government budget”.
One was parking fees being driven up by the government’s parking levy hike, rising 27.5 per cent per year. The PCC had budgeted for it to go up only six per cent—still nearly twice the inflation rate—leaving its books in need of frantic updating, which takes the PCC’s total parking hike this year—funded by motorists—from six to 10 per cent.
In a report to councillors, PCC staffers advise the public will blame the council for parking increases “unless it is explained that the bulk increase relates to a state government tax”.
Staff advise that ratepayers should be made aware of why the costs are going up.
Another item that saw the WA government cop the blame was the 7.5 per cent increase for waste management fees, partly due to the doubling of the landfill levy.
by DAVID BELL