Stirling considers scrapped concessions for council fleet vehicles ‘cost shifting’

Stirling considers scrapped concessions for council fleet vehicles ‘cost shifting’

A “COST SHIFTING” WA government move to scrap concessions for council fleet vehicles will end up costing ratepayers, according to the WA Local Government Association (WALGA) president.

Stirling waste and fleet manager Andrew Murphy said the move could cost the City up to $35,000 but he would not confirm if rates would go up as a result.

“The 2018/19 budget will be considered by the council, with this increased cost considered along with all other operating expenses of the City,” he said.

WALGA president Lynne Craigie said the Department of Transport plan to cease local government registration concessions from July this year would cost the sector $1.5 million more.

“It’s disappointing to see the State engage in cost shifting such as this on the one hand, and then criticise councils for rates increases on the other,” she said.

“By taking away these concessions, councils will have to fund the shortfall through increased rates or diminished services to their community.”

Transport Minister Bill Marmion said a review of vehicle licensing concessions showed WA concessions were more than double the national average.

“Savings delivered through the removal of the concessions are directly invested back into the road network and infrastructure projects from which the whole community benefits,” he said.

The City of Stirling has 570 vehicles that need registration, which cost $116,000 last year.

Cr Craigie was also concerned about a lack of formal consultation about the proposed changes.

“…we will be seeking to meet with the Minister for Transport as soon as possible to pursue a reversal of the decision,” she said.

“We all recognise the State needs to remedy its dire financial situation. However, instead of redressing overspend or achieving genuine savings, this decision is just another example of cost-shifting from the State to Local Government.”

Mr Marmion said the changes were communicated in December but Mr Murphy confirmed the City only received a letter on January 4.

“These changes were communicated in December 2016; they should not cost taxpayers a single cent,” Mr Marmion said.

Concessions will remain for vehicles used for fire and emergency services.