Shire of Waroona proposes 80 per cent rate increase for industry, intensive agriculture and mining landowners
An 80 per cent increase in rates could face about a dozen Shire of Waroona businesses this financial year, with the council arguing the move is “promoting fairness and equity”.
Industrial, mining and intensive agriculture landowners who have their rates determined by unimproved value and do not make road contributions are set to face a near doubling in their rates under plans by the Peel council.
The Shire has defended the move, claiming it will create more parity between industry located within and outside the Waroona townsite, and allow more to be done on maintenance resulting from heavy road use.
It released its rating proposal earlier this month, with general rates set to increase by 3.95 per cent compared with the 2022-23 financial year.
But the figure excludes a new differential rate proposed for properties located outside the Shire’s townsites which are not used primarily for rural and farming purposes.
Properties falling into the new UV industrial, mining and intensive agriculture categories could pay 1.3883 cents in a rateable dollar, up from 0.7687 cents last financial year.
The category will also encompass properties used for exploration, extractive industries and renewable energy facilities.
Shire president Mike Walmsley admitted the rise was a “significant increase” decided after much deliberation around a rating model.
“We looked at 50 per cent, we looked at 100 per cent — it was not so much a value,” he said.
“Looking at some of the rating of other users and what they are paying in rates, the 80 per cent rise was about getting to an equitable level with other (GRV-rated) businesses”.
The new proposed rate will not apply if a business falling into the category already makes a road contribution.
Cr Walmsley said the number of properties impacted by the changes would not be significant, with heavy industrial users the most likely to feel the impact.
“(It is) picking up some of the businesses that have turned quite large and having them paying for what they use ... you should be contributing if you are using more than most,” he said.
“I understand there will be some pushback on the increase in rates to some of these businesses, but it will impact at this point less than 10 rate-paying entities.”
Waroona’s proposed differential rate is double that which could be charged on other UV properties this financial year.
In a statement, the Shire said the new rate was needed “...to offset the higher level of costs associated in servicing these properties, including the costs of transport infrastructure maintenance and renewal/refurbishment, and costs relating to monitoring of land use and environmental impacts.”
Minimum rates are set to increase for all categories by 4.07 per cent to $1280.
Submissions on the council’s proposal close at midday on August 8.
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