Shire discounts pensioner anger

Shire of Mundaring ratepayer Neil McLean is fuming that he and others have been hit with higher rates and a waste levy and pensioner discounts cut.
Shire of Mundaring ratepayer Neil McLean is fuming that he and others have been hit with higher rates and a waste levy and pensioner discounts cut.

About 25 angry pensioners gathered at the Hub of the Hills in Mundaring on Tuesday to hear Mr Throssell and Shire President Helen Dullard explain increased waste charges in their recent rates notice.

Waste transfer charges are no longer included in the ‘general rate’, now showing as a separate charge and a 25 per cent discount for pensioners removed, a move that has some pensioners seething.

Mr Throssell said it was required to remain financially viable after the State Government doubled its landfill levy.

‘The challenge now is to explain the reason and also help you in lessening the impact caused by the change,’ he said.

Ms Dullard said the Shire was ‘shocked’ and ‘appalled’ by the State Government’s decision to double its waste fees.

Mr Throssell said eligible pensioners would be able to defer their rates payments for a year and could also arrange to pay the waste charges over a year.

He said the Shire recognised it could have done more and would do more to communicate future changes to ratepayers.

‘A raft of things had come out about the budget and amalgamation has consumed people’s thinking, so I think the message of the change to waste charges got lost in the noise,’ he said.

‘That is not an excuse; it is our responsibility to get it out.’

He said meetings were the best way to target relevant information to pensioners.

Ratepayer Neil McLean, who attended the meeting, said pensioners were being penalised.

‘The option to defer payments is just putting pensioners into debt and that is not good enough,’ he said.

Another pensioner suggested a user-pays model for waste management.

‘The majority of pensioners do not use the transfer station. We need a user pays basis; I think you should seriously look at it,’ he said.

Mr Throssell said the Shire had looked at that model and it would work out to be far more expensive.