ALMOST 4000 Mandurah pensioners will be on average $203 worse off when changes to local government rates rebates come into force on July 1.
Analysis by the City of Mandurah found 3996 pensioners would be out of pocket as a result of the changes which cap the council rates rebate at $550.
Those pensioners must now pay an average of $203 more on their rates but the worst affected could be $1200 worse off.
Mandurah MLA David Templeman said the increase would be like a sledgehammer to the budgets of many Mandurah pensioners.
“Mandurah has a high proportion of people on fixed and low incomes,’’ he said.
“This is going to make life very difficult and many simply will not be able to cope.
“The effect will be felt throughout the local economy.
“Mandurah is like a forgotten city under the Liberal Government and our communi8ty is bearing the brunt of its failure to plan for life beyond the boom.”
Eligible pensioners currently receive a 50 per cent discount on council rates.
But the State Government will introduce a cap on the amount of rebate a pensioner can claim against their council and water rates.
The pensioner water rate rebate will be limited to $600.
The full 50 percent council rates rebate will still apply for those with rates below the $1100 threshold.
City of Mandurah chief executive Mark Newman said it was a State Government decision that was out of their hands.
He said there was nothing the City could do as it was acting under the direction of the State Government.
He said the change would result in two thirds of affected pensioners having to pay additional costs of between $65 – $200 for their council rates.
The increase comes as the latest unemployment figures show Mandurah has an unemployment rate of 8.4 per cent – the highest unemployment rates in WA.
Youth unemployment is currently 11.9 per cent, above the State average of 10.7 per cent.