Boat owners face big rise in mooring fees
WA boaties are facing fee increases of thousands of dollars a year as the McGowan Government tries to claw back the cost of running State-owned boat harbours.
In a letter to registered boat owners, the Department of Transport has blamed rising costs and the need for a “user-pays” system to reveal it will raise mooring fees by 11.5 per cent from next month.
There will be more pain in coming years, with the department flagging increases of up to 10 per cent “plus CPI” from 2019-20 until fees reached levels.
“It will take seven years for the majority of users to complete the transition,” a spokeswoman for the department said.
The decision will affect about 2000 boat owners whose vessels are penned in 30 facilities around WA, including Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour and at Hillarys.
It is understood privatelyowned facilities such as Perth’s yacht clubs will not be affected.
One boat owner said the changes would add almost $800 a year to their fees — an impost likely to grow into costreflective thousands of dollars if forecast increases came into force.
According to the department, increasing fees was necessary because boat owners paid less than half of what it cost the State to provide the services.
“The escalating costs involved with maintaining these facilities will see users paying more as the current cost model is no longer sustainable in the current economic environment,” a spokeswoman said.
“Maintaining boat harbours and facilities for pen holders throughout the State is increasingly expensive and the current revenue is not providing the funds that are needed.”
She said the department would collect $11.3 million in fees and charges next financial year, of which about $1 million would come from the latest increases.
Geoff Ellis, a former president of the Boating Industry Association, said the Government was going after boat owners to prop up its Budget because they were a “soft target”.
Mr Ellis said the increases came at a bad time with the economy subdued and many boat owners were “not millionaires — they’re mums and dads”.