Minister helps secessionists

Minister helps secessionists

Photograph - Robyn Molloy.

Member for Darling Range and Local Government Minister Tony Simpson says he is supportive of Harrisdale and Piara Waters residents and is pointing them in the right direction in their effort to reduce their rates.

Mr Simpson met with residents earlier this month to discuss rates issues and their push to leave the City of Armadale and join another city like Cockburn or Canning.

Some residents in Harrisdale and Piara Waters pay more than $3000 in rates.

Mr Simpson said he heard their concerns and pointed them in the direction of the Local Government Advisory Board, the body the residents would have to apply to in order to make a local government boundary adjustment.

“I met with a group of ratepayers a couple of Saturdays ago,” he said.

“I explained to them the process …to go through a boundary adjustment. I’m supportive of the community, I’m pointing them in the right direction of how they can go about and do that next process.”

Mr Simpson said he also gave the residents advice that rates shouldn’t be the only reason to leave the city in their submission to the LGAB.

“You can’t drive a solution through to move local governments just based on one issue,” he said.

“They inform me it wasn’t one issue. They shop in Cockburn, play in Cockburn, gym and eat and park their car and catch the train to work in Cockburn and it’s the reason they want to go to the City of Cockburn.

“It’s to do with the services and that’s more important.

“The whole (local government) reform process, which we started a couple of years ago, was about trying to find communities of interest.”

Mr Simpson said he also told residents they could apply to the valuer general to revaluate their Gross Rental Values – the figure that individual rates are calculated on.

“I noticed their GRV was at $25,000 a year and everyone around the table had the same sort of GRV so if you divide that by 52 it comes out around about $500 a week in rent,” he said.

“I did think their GRV was way too high considering I’m in Byford on a 1000sqm block and my GRV is only $18,000. Theirs is $7000 more and they’re just 10 minutes up the road.”

Mr Simpson said given the high vacancy rental market a revaluation could mean their rates could come down considerably.

He believed the City of Armadale’s move to reduce the specified area rate which Harrisdale and Piara Waters residents pay was a good step.

“I thought it was a good outcome from the city to at least acknowledge that the community is feeling a bit of pressure,” he said.

“I thought that it was actually quite good from the city to acknowledge we need to find a way to put a bit of downward pressure and to come up with the solution of $95 I thought that was pretty good.”

The City of Armadale was contacted but did not respond before deadline.