‘Ditch levy’ plea

• Activate Perth chair Di Bain at the empty Watertown carpark. The owners still have to pay $1170 per bay to the state government’s growing Perth Parking Levy reserve.

It’s sending us broke carpark.

CITY businesses are calling for the McGowan government to hold off collecting the annual Perth Parking Levy. 

Activate Perth chair Di Bain says the city’s retail sector has been hammered during the Covid-19 shutdown, and 30 to 40 per cent of business are unlikely to reopen unless last year’s levy is refunded to help them pull through. 

The state government collects about $1170 per bay for commercial carparks in the CBD’s free transit zone, and the bills are due any day. 

Even tiny businesses with just one bay in a shared carpark have to pay. 

The cash is meant to go towards public transport, but successive state governments been criticised for hoarding it and the pool now sits at $130 million.

Lynda Storer from West Perth business Alt Vision says the levy is an enormous impost on small businesses. 

She’s run the numbers since it was introduced at $70 in 1999, and says if it had followed CPI it’d be a manageable $117 per bay today. Instead she has to fork out more than $1000.

“The parking levy is now half of our strata fee,” Ms Storer says. 

“How can my car bay levy be more than my office rates?”

She says West Perth has had a lot of vacancies since the mining boom quietened, and the parking levy is putting off new businesses from moving in.

“We’re right up at the border of West Perth and Subiaco, and Subiaco don’t have to pay the fee. What incentive is there for small business to remain here at the moment?”

Activate Perth has penned an open letter to the state government co-signed by East Perth Community Group and West Perth Local.

It had hoped to rope in Perth council, but chair commissioner Andrew Hammond’s response was non-committal, saying only that they were monitoring the Covid-19 impact.

Ms Bain says the big reserve should be spent on retaining businesses and getting Perth tourism-ready once the coronavirus crisis is over.

By DAVID BELL

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