A FEE to charge pensioners an extra $15 for processing their rebates at the Shire of Kalamunda has been deemed illegal by the Minister for Local Government.
The latest Pensioner Rebate Processing Fee added onto the shire rates this year was noticed by pensioners who queried the cost with Shire of Kalamunda staff.
“I was absolutely astonished to discover that the shire had voted to charge seniors for processing their State Government Rates Rebate,” said Kalamunda resident Roger Jennings.
Mr Jennings and his wife Linda said they queried the fee with administration staff.
“I was disappointed they deliberately had chosen not to inform seniors of this new charge by way of the information printed on the back of the current rates notice where there is a detailed description of entitlements for holders of various Senior’s cards.
“The Shire was quick to point out to ratepayers that the rebate from the State Government was now capped but neglected to mention the Shire itself was hitting seniors’ pockets as well,” Mr Jennings said.
Minister for Local Government Tony Simpson said the pensioner rebate processing fee was not lawful.
He confirmed he had also received letters from concerned Kalamunda pensioners.
Council voted to pass the amendment to charge the fee for the privilege of receiving their WA State Government rebate this financial year.
“The $15 pensioner rebate processing fee being charged by the Shire of Kalamunda was brought to my attention by Forrestfield MLA Nathan Morton,” Mr Simpson said.
“It was determined that the fee was not lawful under the Rates and Charges (Rebates and Deferments) Act 1992 or Local Government Act 1995 which restricts the types of fee and charges that a local government can impose.”
Mr Simpson said he had instructed the Department of Local Government and Communities to write to the Shire advising of this fact and requesting that the council revise the decision to levy the charge.