Mid West and Gascoyne councils propose rates rises but look to wait to adopt 2023-24 budgets until August

Anna CoxMidwest Times
Shires have been working out their rates for 2023-24.
Camera IconShires have been working out their rates for 2023-24. Credit: West Regional

Most Mid West and Gascoyne councils are choosing to keep their rate rises below inflation — with one hiking its rates by 10 per cent while another is set to buck the trend by cutting them.

Local councils are working on finalising their 2023-24 budgets as they near the August 31 deadline, with the cost-of-living crisis a focus in their considerations.

Of the 20 councils surveyed, seven have yet to reveal their rates stance. The average proposed or confirmed rates rise among the remaining 13 councils is 4.4 per cent.

All but one local government with a rates rise locked in or proposed is not exceeding the 6 per cent rate of inflation.

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The Shire of Mingenew will raise its rates 10 per cent in 2023-24.

“We’ve had a few fantastic years farming out here, so there have been more trucks on the roads carting grain and increased wear and tear,” Shire president Gary Cosgrove said.

Cr Cosgrove explained the 10 per cent figure came from a 5 per cent general increase and additional five per cent for the Roads Improvement Program. “We’re using the funds to go towards getting ahead on our road works program,” he said.

The Shire of Mt Magnet kept community at the fore, with reductions in residential, exploration and prospecting categories.

There was a 5 per cent increase for mining rates in the Mt Magnet region, but it came after a 5 per cent reduction in the same sector in last year’s budget.

Mt Magnet CEO Tralee Cable said: “This is on top of the 5 per cent reduction we had across the board last year. We’ve done some very close assessments and tightened our budget significantly, we want to acknowledge the value that prospecting and exploration brings to our town.”

Three Springs joins Cue and Sandstone councils in proposing a 3 per cent rates increase.

CEO of Cue Shire Richard Towell said: “We’re trying to stick to our long-term financial plan but balance it with the cost of living, rather than holding off right now and then increasing it a lot down the line.”

Cue Shire president Beth Walton said the quantity of residents was motivation to keep rates low, wanting to be considerate of the community and retain the population.

Coorow’s deputy CEO Myra Henry said the Shire’s main consideration was to not financially burden the community. “We’ll look in to a bigger rates rise when inflation isn’t as bad, but now is not that time,” she said.

The City of Greater Geraldton locked in its 3 per cent increase on June 27. “We are doing a lot with a modest Budget and keeping the community top of mind with each project,” City Mayor Shane Van Styn said.

Ministerial approval was a common theme in the delay of budget adoption, with more than 10 councils awaiting the go-ahead in order to adopt by the end of August.

  • Carnamah: To be finalised in August
  • Carnarvon: To be finalised in August
  • Chapman Valley: To be finalised in August
  • Coorow: Proposed 4 per cent rates rise
  • Cue: Proposed 3 per cent rates rise
  • Dandaragan: 5 per cent rates rise.
  • Exmouth: 4.8 per cent rates rise
  • Greater Geraldton: 3 per cent rates rise
  • Irwin: 5.9 per cent rates rise
  • Meekatharra: To be finalised in August
  • Mingenew: 10 per cent rates rise
  • Morawa: Proposed 4.5 per cent rates rise for GRV
  • Mt Magnet: Proposed 3 per cent reduction for residential rates
  • Murchison: To be finalised in August
  • Northampton: To be finalised in August
  • Perenjori: Proposed 4 per cent rates rise
  • Three Springs: Proposed 3 per cent rates rise
  • Sandstone: Proposed 3 per cent rates rise
  • Shark Bay: 4 per cent rate increase
  • Yalgoo: To be finalised in August

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