RAAFA in rates dispute

Rates exempt for now... the The RAAFA village at Erskine.
Rates exempt for now... the The RAAFA village at Erskine.

The RAAFA had appealed to the State Administration Tribunal after the City of Mandurah rejected claims it was a charitable organisation but the tribunal found that by meeting the needs of the aged, a charitable purpose existed.

City chief executive Mark Newman, while not disputing the RAAFA’s charitable status, claims it is unfair that people with the same or better means than others in the community could avoid payment of rates that others of lesser wealth were required to pay.

He said village residents had available all council services and facilities, including roads, parks and libraries and similar or better means than others in the community.

The council is appealing against the decision to the Supreme Court.

The history of the appeal is lengthy and not helped by the two-year wait for the tribunal’s decision.

About 12 years ago, the RAAFA applied for its Meadow Springs village to be exempt from rates. The request was denied but the council negotiated a settlement with a 10 year-time frame before rates should be paid.

Later, the council entered into a similar agreement over three years with the RAFFA for its new village at Erskine.

When that agreement expired, the RAAFA objected to paying rates and based its argument on Tribunal findings in 2005 that land could be used for charity.