THE Western Australian Council of Social Service (WACOSS) has said it is concerned to see council rate rises for property owners that are well above inflation and wage growth.
WA’s inflation for the 2018/19 financial year is predicted to be 1.5 per cent, with wage growth forecast at 1.75 per cent.
But that hasn’t stopped most Perth councils exceeding those figures in rates hikes.
The Cities and Rockingham and Kwinana have proposed rate rises of 3.6 and 3.5 per cent respectively.
Of the local governments canvassed, only three – the Cities of Melville and Perth and the Town of Cottesloe – had rate increases under the inflation rate.
Of those councils, the City of Melville is the subject of a State Government investigation, while the City of Perth council was suspended earlier this year.
The average rate increase across 16 local governments was 2.41 per cent, and WACOSS chief executive officer Louise Giolitto said the rises were troubling.
“Particularly because this comes at a time where we are seeing rising financial hardship within across our community and on the back of large rises in State Government household fees and charges two years running – a cumulative increase of 13 per cent, or $730, for the average WA household,” she said.
“WA disconnection rates for both electricity and gas have gone from being among Australia’s lowest rates to the nation’s highest.”
Ms Giolitto said that while rate increases only apply to people who owned their own home, she was concerned landlords would pass the cost on to their tenants.
“Rate increases only apply directly to those who own their own home – many of the poorest households are in private rental, who may see these costs passed on in time to an increase in their rent.
“Among home owners, we are particularly concerned at the impacts on aged pensioners who are living on fixed budgets and can’t easily absorb increasing costs, and low-income working families who are reliant on part-time, casual and insecure work – a group that has been increasing in recent years.”
Proposed rate increase by metro local governments:
City of Rockingham 3.6 per cent
City of Kwinana 3.5 per cent
Shire of Mundaring 3.1 per cent
Town of Victoria Park 3 per cent
City of Joondalup 2.95 per cent
City of Nedlands 2.95 per cent
City of Wanneroo 2.95 per cent
City of Fremantle 2.9 per cent
City of East Fremantle 2.5 per cent
City of Mandurah 2.4 per cent
City of Kalamunda 2.1 per cent
Town of Claremont 1.9 per cent
City of Cockburn 1.9 per cent
City of Swan 1.8 per cent
City of Melville 0.9 per cent
City of Perth 0.8 per cent
Town of Cottesloe 0.7 per cent
Not all councils had proposed rate rises available