Allowance for Govt employees clarified
There has been some confusion in the community about the District Allowance and our Shire becoming a City in 2014.
The District Allowance is paid to public sector employees as compensation for “the disadvantages associated with working in regional Western Australia”.
It is provided for under agreements which “provide a robust methodology for the annual calculation of the DA based on three different factors — cost of living, climate and isolation”.
The cost of living component is affected primarily by movements in the regional price index, which itself is determined by a survey of costs in large regional centres and is conducted every two years.
The methodology allows for the rise and fall in DA rates to reflect changes in the cost of living. This was supported by Government and public sector unions during agreement negotiations in 2010.
The isolation and climate components are adjusted by movements in the annual Perth consumer price index.
On July 1, 2010, the DA for Karratha/Dampier was $9839.
A year later, it went up to $15,671 — a whopping 59 per cent in one year.
In 2012, it went up again to 16,537. This was in response to cost of living pressures during the mining boom.
However, in 2013, the heat was gone from the mining boom and the regional price index revealed significant reductions in cost-of-living pressures in our area and a consequent reduction in the DA. To soften the blow in Karratha, Government employees were allowed to remain at the 2012 rate until June 30, 2014, when the DA dropped to $9192 — a reduction of 42 per cent.
On July 1, 2014, the Shire of Roebourne became the City of Karratha and some thought this precipitated the 42 per cent drop in their DA.
This was not the case — local government status has nothing to do with the District Allowance. It’s related to costof-living fundamentals, which began to drop in 2013, but weren’t passed on until 2014.