Mandurah and Murray councils may have to pass on cost to ratepayers after State Govt cuts funding to vehicle licence fees to local govts

Mandurah and Murray councils may have to pass on cost to ratepayers after State Govt cuts funding to vehicle licence fees to local govts

LOCAL councils are concerned at the State Government’s funding cut to vehicle licence fees and stamp duty currently offered to local government authorities.

The concession will no longer apply to affected vehicles from the first licence expiry date on or after July 1.

Shire of Murray chief executive Dean Unsworth said the new impost, to the tune of $60,000-$70,000 for his council, would mean ratepayers would be left to pick up the tab for services local government was required to cover.

“While there may be some concessions for certain fire and emergency vehicles, the State Government should consider that there is much more to public safety than a fire appliance,’’ he said.

“The Shire of Murray is currently reeling with unemployment at 10.7 per cent which is one of the highest rates in the nation.

“It is difficult to expect ratepayers to pay for this – they are asked to either pay for the State Government decision or expect reduced services – either way the ratepayer will carry the burden.”

City of Mandurah chief executive Mark Newman said local government received a 100 per cent concession on vehicle registration fees and duty.

He said there had been no warning of the decision and no consultation.

Mr Newman estimated it would cost the council more than $100,000 a year and the council must consider how to manage the challenge.

“State Government cost shifting is becoming a pressing issue for many local governments,’’ he said

South West MLC Nigel Hallett claimed the decision was issued on December 30 when councils were closed for Christmas.

He said the decision could have a major impact on the local automotive industry as councils adopted a longer changeover policy of its fleet due to additional stamp duty, reducing the number of vehicles sold and traded.

Mr Hallett said the forward estimates suggested the additional licence fee revenue to the State would be $5.6 million a year.According to the Department of Transport, the changes resulted from a broad review of vehicle licensing concession policy.

The review found the WA vehicle licensing concessions were more than double the national average.

Any vehicle bought and licensed between now and June 30 would continue to receive the current level of concession with changes not applied retrospectively.

A Department spokesman said local authorities had been advised of the funding cut in December to allow any increase to be considered in their budgets.

Some vehicles will be eligible for other concessions, such as fire fighting and emergency vehicles.