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Ratepayers at the City of Swan’s annual meeting of electors show their displeasure. Picture: ANITA McINNES

Rate review dead for now

AFTER much opposition from ratepayers and a request from the Planning Minister the City of Swan voted on Wednesday evening to delay its rate method review until after a review of the Local Government Act 1995 is finished.

Ratepayers’ concern with the unimproved value (UV) rate review erupted not long after the council sent them a declaration form saying if it was not returned in time the council would assume a ratepayer’s land was used predominantly for non-rural purposes.

The council also said it wanted to have any changes in place for the 2018-19 financial year.

At the annual meeting of electors on Tuesday, December 12 Mayor David Lucas apologised to ratepayers and said the rate method review was not a cash grab, not to force people off their land and not designed to add to the chief executive officer’s remuneration.

At the ordinary council meeting a motion put forward by Swan Valley-Gidgegannup ward councillor Charlie Zannino calling for the review to be deferred until the Local Government Act 1995 and Swan Valley Planning Act 1995 reviews were completed was accepted unanimously.

Cr Lucas said the decision to defer the review was based on a number of factors, many of which were raised as concerns by the community during the past two months.

“In particular, there was a lot of confusion around the definition of ‘rural land’ and this will be considered as part of the review of the Act,” he said.

Residents from Bullsbrook, Gidgegannup, Brigadoon, West Swan, Millendon, Herne Hill and Baskerville were among those who joined forces to get their message out that ‘rural was rural’.

Gidgegannup Progress Association chairwoman Sally Block said the Residents against City of Swan Facebook page had more than 1300 ratepayers who were committed to working towards an equitable rating system.

“This page unites the ratepayers and progress associations of the city’s rural wards and we hope it will continue in the future to be a valuable forum for our rural community,’’ she said.

By Anita McInnes

About Anita

Anita Mcinnes received a highly commended in the 2009 WA Media Awards suburban section for her reporting. Two of her sons were born at Swan District Hospital and for many years she was a partner in a small business, which operated in the Gingin-Muchea-Bullsbrook area. As a mature age student Anita studied journalism at Curtin University before working in Busselton, Dunsborough and Rockingham with West Regionals. She says the best part of her job is meeting eastern suburb residents and visiting the many attractions in the area.

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