Rate rise on the cards for City of Karratha residents

Alicia PereraPilbara News
The grassed area in front of the Quarter, Karratha.
Camera IconThe grassed area in front of the Quarter, Karratha. Credit: Tom Zaunmayr.

The City of Karratha council has endorsed a proposed rate rise of 2 per cent across most property categories.

At a special meeting last week, councillors voted unanimously in favour of the new differential rates model that will be put out for community consultation before a final decision is made.

Under the planned increases, the average residential property owner would pay an extra $48 a year, and commercial properties would pay an extra $139 on average.

The average increase for strategic industry would be $1427 a year for properties rated by gross rental value and $3722 for those rated by unimproved value, while pas-toralists could expect a $541 increase.

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Transient workforce accommodation camps would be hardest hit with a proposed rate rise of 7 per cent, or $15,839 a year on average, in a move that will require ministerial approval.

City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long said the proposed rates would not overburden ratepayers.

“The City has worked hard to reduce council’s reliance on rates as a source of income, with the majority of funding projected for next financial year coming from other sources such as fees, charges, grants, contributions and income generating assets such as The Quarter, Airport and the City’s waste facilities,” he said.

“The proposed increase, which is less than inflation, will cost the average residential ratepayer less than $1 dollar per week in additional rates.”

The proposed rates model comes after a 2017 Landgate revaluation of gross rental values for the first time since 2014, resulting in steep declines in the value of City properties including 42 per cent for residential properties, 40.9 per cent for industrial properties and 21.7 per cent for commercial premises.

At last week’s meeting, several councillors said while they would have preferred no increase in rates, circumstances including the revalued property prices and declining funding from government and industry made the 2 per cent hike acceptable to them.

Councillors Evette Smeathers and Daniel Scott said the City was providing a high standard of services and amenities for the population base and the proposed rates model would allow that to continue.

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