Rates hike not in pa­per

North West Telegraph - - Telegraph News - Tay­lar Amonini

It is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the coun­cil to en­sure the com­mu­nity is aware of any pub­lic no­tice. Glo­ria Ja­cob

The Town of Port Hed­land has been crit­i­cised for a lack of trans­parency af­ter it was dis­cov­ered it chose not to ad­ver­tise the change in rat­ing strat­egy in lo­cal news­pa­pers ear­lier this year.

In May this year the Town be­gan the process of chang­ing the rat­ing strat­egy for the 201718 fi­nan­cial year — a 1.5 per cent in­crease in the rate in the dol­lar across the GRV res­i­den­tial, GRV com­mer­cial, GRV tourist ac­com­mo­da­tion, unim­proved val­ues min­ing and UV pas­toral cat­e­gories.

Ac­cord­ing to the Depart­ment of Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment, Sport and Cul­tural In­dus­tries, un­der the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Act 1995 a lo­cal gov­ern­ment must give lo­cal pub­lic no­tice which must be pub­lished “in a news­pa­per cir­cu­lat­ing gen­er­ally through­out the dis­trict”.

Dur­ing the com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion pe­riod, the Town ad­ver­tised the changes, in let­ters sent to ratepay­ers, a me­dia re­lease, on so­cial me­dia, on the Town web­site and The West Aus­tralian.

How­ever, they did not ad­ver­tise in the North West Tele­graph, de­liv­ered weekly, for free, to homes through­out the Town. Lo­cal res­i­dent and South Hed­land Business As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Glo­ria Ja­cob said she was sur­prised by the Town’s de­ci­sion be­cause most lo­cal res­i­dents do not get the Statewide pa­per. “It is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the coun­cil to en­sure the com­mu­nity is aware of any pub­lic no­tice that re­lates to rates and in this case it hasn’t been as trans­par­ent as it should have been,” she said.

“It’s un­usual to ad­ver­tise in The West Aus­tralian with­out putting it in the lo­cal news­pa­per.”

When asked about how they chose the medi­ums of ad­ver­tis­ing a Town spokesman said they used “many dif­fer­ent medi­ums to ad­ver­tise the changes to en­sure that ev­ery­one had ac­cess to the in­for­ma­tion”.

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