Work­ers’ camps is­sue costly for coun­cils

Pilbara News - - News - Peter de Krui­jff

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.”

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