Anger at end of li­cence con­ces­sions

Pilbara News - - News - An­gela Pow­nall

A State Gov­ern­ment cash grab over ve­hi­cle li­cens­ing con­ces­sions could push WA coun­cil rates up 2.5 per cent this year, the lo­cal gov­ern­ment sec­tor’s lobby group has warned.

Lo­cal gov­ern­ment au­thor­i­ties, the Aus­tralian De­fence Force and Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment agen­cies have long en­joyed a 100 per cent re­duc­tion in li­cens­ing costs for their ve­hi­cles. The WA Gov­ern­ment has de­cided to scrap the con­ces­sion to claw back $5.9 mil­lion over the next fi­nan­cial year alone, though State Gov­ern­ment ve­hi­cles will keep the ben­e­fit.

Lynne Craigie, pres­i­dent of the WA Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment As­so­ci­a­tion, con­demned the de­ci­sion, which she said was an­nounced over Christ­mas to come into ef­fect on July 1.

“It’s one of those things we get a dis­count on in lo­cal gov­ern­ment which en­ables us to pro­vide more ser­vices,” she said.

“If money has to be used to pay regis­tra­tion in the bud­get, coun­cils will ei­ther have to put up rates or cut back ser­vices.”

Ms Craigie said for a small coun­cil, an ex­tra cost of $16,000 was equiv­a­lent to about a one per cent rate in­crease, while for a big­ger coun­cil a $50,000 cost would trans­late to about a 2.5 per cent rate in­crease. “It def­i­nitely has an im­pact,” she said.

“We es­ti­mate it will cost $1 mil­lion across the coun­cils.

“This is quite an im­post to chuck on us with no warn­ing.”

Ms Craigie said she be­lieved it was “sneaky” move by the State Gov­ern­ment.

Trans­port Min­is­ter Bill Marmion said a re­view of ve­hi­cle li­cens­ing con­ces­sions showed WA’s were more than dou­ble the na­tional av­er­age.

“These changes should not cost ratepay­ers a sin­gle cent more,” he said.

“Con­ces­sions re­main for ve­hi­cles used for fire and emer­gency ser­vices as well as am­bu­lances.”

Mr Marmion said the sav­ings, es­ti­mated to amount to $17.6 mil­lion over the next three years, would be in­vested in the road net­work and in­fra­struc­ture projects.

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