Rockingham council defends rates rise

Pierra Willix and Peter De KruijffSound Telegraph
The minimum rate on all gross rental value properties will be increased from $1158 to $1200.
Camera IconThe minimum rate on all gross rental value properties will be increased from $1158 to $1200. Credit: Generic image.

The City of Rockingham has defended its decision to raise rates by 3.6 per cent, saying its average rates are still below the metropolitan average.

Last week, councillors voted to approve the increase, which equates to an average increase of about $50 each year.

The minimum rate on all gross rental value properties will be increased from $1158 to $1200.

According to the WA Local Government Association’s 2018/19 statistics, the City ranked 21st out of 31 local governments for average residential rates.

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The West Australian revealed last week 20 of 23 metropolitan councils were upping, or looking to increase rates, with the City of Rockingham having the highest increase at 3.6 per cent.

Local Government Minister David Templeman has urged councils to think about families who are “tightening their belts”.

“I think all local governments need to be very mindful a lot of communities, a lot of families are tightening their belts with their financial situation and I think there is a big expectation councils will do likewise to reflect that,” he said.

But Rockingham Mayor Barry Sammels said the City’s budget and associated rate rise would assist it in delivering infrastructure, services and programs for the community.

“The City of Rockingham is one of the fastest-growing areas in WA, with the City’s population growing at double the State average,” he said.

“This increase in population has led to a huge demand for vital community infrastructure and services.”

Last Tuesday night, councillors approved the City’s budget setting of rates 8-0. Crs Matthew Whitfield and Lee Downham were absent from the meeting.

Rates revenue is anticipated to generate $92.1 million, which will help fund major capital projects including the Baldivis District Sporting Complex ($13.95 million), Port Kennedy Drive works ($4.37 million), Koorana Reserve master plan ($3.88 million), Waterfront village foreshore park redevelopment ($3.87 million) and the Rockingham Foreshore Project ($2.05 million).

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