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ESL outcry

THE Property Council of WA is calling for the State Government to implement measures to ensure that local governments return to ratepayers the savings generated by the Emergency Services Levy.

Commercial property owners have been particularly hard hit by the new levy, with shopping centres across WA experiencing an average increase of 147 per cent in fire levy costs.

According to the peak property group, of the 125 local governments it approached in early October only seven gave an assurance that Emergency Services Levy savings would be passed onto ratepayers through lower rates.

Of the 34 shires and councils that responded, 33 per cent indicated they received no gain from the new levy, while 15 per cent indicated that they were worse off with the new levy.

The Property Council believes the results of the survey show that not all local governments were delivering savings after the introduction of the new ESL regime.

Executive director Joe Lenzo said only 21 per cent of local governments that responded gave assurance that savings would be returned to property owners.

“In fact, 89 per cent of local governments, which have benefited from savings under the new ESL regime, increased their rates,” he said.

“The Government has merely put out a release saying that it expects savings to be passed on to ratepayers, but this is clearly not working.”

Mr Lenzo said the Property Council believed the Government had failed to ensure that savings were being returned to property owners.

“The end result is a cash grab by State and local governments,” he said.

 

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