Letter to the editor: Council seems to be milking big companies to increase revenue

by | May 29, 2022 | Opinion | 0 comments

Dear Editor,

Each year, one can expect that my local Litchfield Council will set out its proposed budget for the next financial year.

One can usually expect a rate rise to at least keep up with costs in running a council. That we hope would be based on the principles of what is fair and just.

In Litchfield, all residential land is charged a flat rate while commercial and industrial properties pay a figure based the unimproved value of the land.

That figure in the last budget was calculated using $1.69 per cent of the value now going up this year to $1.74 per cent. But the council has decided to have a different approach to industrial development on Wickham Point.

In 2019/20 the rates for three parcels of land, Conoco Phillips and Inpex, were based on the rate of $0.466 per cent, nearly double what other industrial businesses were charged. In 2020/21 that increased to 0.933 per cent and last year jumped to 1.400 per cent. The actual dollar value of the rates went from $178,000 to $280,000 to last year $385,000.

But this year the council has decided that within the Wickham area, land will attract a higher increase in rates of 500 per cent if it is zoned future development or development.

This means the percentage rate will be 840.04 per cent of the UCV which converts to a rate value of $1,953,372.

Regardless of what your opinion is about our gas plants, this huge increase in rates is based on whether a business is in a development or future development zone and that is unjust and unfair.

It seems that the council has simply decided to find a way to milk big companies to increase council revenue.

Conoco Phillips and Inpex are part of our community and sponsor various community groups. Both companies use very little of the council services but that doesn’t mean that they should not pay rates, but the rates should be fair and just and an increase of 500 per cent doesn’t sound like that, just greedy.

Gerry Wood

Howard Springs

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