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Australind businesses cautiously welcome Shire of Harvey’s “tolerable” drop in proposed commercial rates

Headshot of Sean Van Der Wielen
Sean Van Der WielenHarvey-Waroona Reporter
Featured Wood Gallery & Museum owner John Ablett at his Australind premises.
Camera IconFeatured Wood Gallery & Museum owner John Ablett at his Australind premises. Credit: Sean Van Der Wielen/The West Australian

Australind business owners are breathing a slight sigh of relief after their proposed rate increase was cut by a third, but have warned against their double-digit rate rise being any more than a one-off.

The Shire of Harvey has cut its proposed 16.5 per cent commercial and industrial rate rise back to 10 per cent as it seeks to finalise its financial plans on Tuesday.

A number of businesses operators within the Shire have approached the council about the rate rise, including Featured Wood Gallery & Museum owner John Ablett.

He noted his mixed feelings about the revised plans.

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“We’re not happy with the 10 per cent rate increase but if it is an one-off, it is tolerable,” he said.

“We don’t think it should be an ongoing thing that we should have to still pay the shortfall from the general public. That’s not right.

“I’m pleased the Shire have at least compromised and looked at their expenditure in the same way as we have when times are tough.”

Mr Ablett said business owners would have preferred to have seen the 6.5 per cent increase for all landowners, which was put forward by some councillors.

“It has been a really hard, tough time at the moment because the economy is not the best,” he said.

Mr Ablett stated business owners in the area accepted the need for the Shire to spend on its growing population, but called for a more measured approach.

“In years gone by, past administrations didn’t spend a lot really within an area that’s growing fast,” he said.

“We appreciate the fact that we don’t want the Shire to become stagnated and have no progress.

“We like to see money spent and like to see new projects happening but within the budget of the public who are the ratepayers as well as the Shire.”

As a result of the differential rate being retained, rural and residential landowners will see their council rate bills increase by 6 per cent, down from the 7 per cent rise in the 2022-23 financial year.

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