WALGA wants charities leasing State housing to pay rates

Stock image.
Stock image.

LOCAL governments are calling for charities leasing State-owned housing to pay rates.

Kwinana Mayor Carol Adams put forward a motion for the WA Local Government Association to advocate on the issue of rate exemptions for charitable organisations to the Housing Minister at the AGM on August 7.

Her original motion asked that the Housing authority at Department of Communities stop leasing its properties to charitable organisations that were eligible for rate exemptions.

Alternatively it called for the department to pay local governments compensation for loss of rates, or include in leases that charitable organisations must pay rates.

Cr Adams said the exemptions were increasing the burden on other ratepayers because tenants of those properties received local government services, but councils received no reimbursement.

Her report said prior to May 2019, the department had 13 properties in Kwinana that were exempt from rates because it leased them to charitable organisations, which equated to $20,000 in lost rates revenue.

It said Kwinana Council approved exemptions to another 31 properties in May, which equated to another $85,000 in lost rates revenue.

“There are 338 residential properties that could be leased to charitable or not-for-profit organisations,” it said.

The report said that could result in an annual loss of $585,000 if the department entered agreements with charities to manage those properties.

“The shortfall from the annual loss of rates revenue would equate to a 1.85 per cent rate of increase for the remaining ratepayers,” it said.

East Fremantle Councillor Cliff Collinson successfully moved an amendment to exclude the first two options, seconded by Mosman Park Mayor

Brett Pollock, who said his Town had a large housing stock but still needed rates to be paid.

The primary motion, as amended, was carried with 188 votes in favour and 24 against.

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