THE City of Fremantle’s ‘spew tax’ is broken, according to a local nightclub owner.
The ‘spew tax’ moniker was given to the increased differential rate introduced in 2011, which slugged Fremantle’s venues opened past 2am with a rate double that of the general one given to other pubs and bars.
The money would be set aside to help cover the costs associated with the late night patronage including vandalism, cleaning costs, CCTV surveillance and the results of antisocial behaviour.
However, Metropolis Fremantle owner David Heaton said it was unfair for just three venues to cover the entire burden when the patrons often frequented multiple nightclubs, bars and pubs in a night.
He said his nightclub alone had contributed about $400,000 because of the increased differential rate.
“Five years on the council has confirmed that it does not use the money to ‘clean up spew’ but instead uses the money to fund the late night taxi rank,” he said.
“Initially there was talk of more public toilets and security patrols but essentially the money has been channelled into a taxi rank that was previously being paid for by the council and no new initiatives supporting the night time economy have been launched.
“Why should the nightclubs in Fremantle pay for the whole taxi rank when it is clear they only benefit for a total of four hours a week?
“If the council decides to apply the rate on a ‘usage basis’ then they should apply it fairly across the board.”
Fremantle city business director Glen Dougall said the combined addition contribution of the three venues subject to the differential rate in the current financial year would be around $64,000.
“This amount does not cover the entire cost of providing services like night patrols, the taxi rank and CCTV,” he said.
“Additional funds are drawn from general revenue.
“The rationale for the differential rate is published in the budget every year and has not changed since the measure was introduced.”