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Offices hit by govt charges

GOVERNMENT charges account for one third of operating costs in Perth commercial offices, accord-ing to a WA Property Council survey.

The raft of statutory charges, including municipal rates, land tax and water and sewerage tax, equated to $28 per sqm in premium and A-grade offices in the central business district and $34 per sqm in A and B-Grade offices in West Perth.

Sixty CBD and West Perth building owners participated in the June 2000 survey, which did not take into account the effect of the GST.

Property Council policy officer Geoff Cooper said the survey highlighted how vulnerable the property industry was and how wary it must be, to changes in government revenue policy.

“Property owners must be watchful of governments that continually see the property industry as a magic honey pot of funds,” Mr Cooper said.

Total costs for Premium and A Grade buildings in the CBD rose 6.4 per cent, while costs at A & B grade buildings in West Perth rose 9.7 per cent.

“The increased costs for CBD owners reflected higher local government charges, a new car parking levy, and air-conditioning costs,” Mr Cooper said.

“These cost increases were not compensated by higher rental income, which remained flat.”

Mr Cooper said the council would be lobbying the new State Government to reduce these statutory costs through its promised business review.

NSC Corporate director Steve Carulli agreed something needed to be done about the high charges, in particular land tax.

“Theoretically, water tax and municipal rates go to providing services we need… and most would argue it is fair and just,” Mr Carulli said.

“But land tax is a wealth tax… you really get nothing for it.

“Everything is tied up in the property value, so if the valuer generals office increases the value of the property, land tax goes up.”

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