Rates hike not in paper
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”.