Workers’ camps issue costly for councils
Half-a-million dollars was the cost of the City of Karratha conceding its battle with Local Government Minister Tony Simpson over rates for the impending 2015-16 budget.
The Department of Local Government has knocked back the rates proposals of Pilbara councils and asked most to reduce rates for transient workforce accommodation camps.
Karratha Mayor Peter Long said the loss of revenue from transient workforce accommodation meant the council needed to review the budget and find sav- ings in other areas. “The City will have to consider cutting services or projects, dipping into reserve funds or increasing rates to compensate the $530,000 revenue loss and officers will present a range of options for council to consider,” he said.
The City has not minced its words about the decision, which will ultimately put a bigger burden on services and ratepayers.
The Town of Port Hedland has had to reduce its revenue stream by $336,000 given the State Government’s position on not lumping transient worker accommodation with an inequitable share of rate rises. Cr Long said it was a disappointing outcome.
“We proposed a rates model that was fair and ensured that FIFO mining camps would pay an appropriate amount for the services they have access to in our city — it was the same model the minister approved last year,” he said.
“We have fought as hard as we can, but ultimately we can’t move forward with our annual budget until we have a rating model.
“There’s some great projects planned for our 2015/16 budget and our staff are ready to get on with … delivering them, despite this setback to our revenue.”