Letters of the week February 23, 2024

Rate rort?

Dear Echo News,

I was concerned when reading Motion has vacant land-tax sting (Echo News, February 16). Councillor Knight proposed a hike in rates of 30 per cent for anyone in the City of Swan who owns an undeveloped, vacant block of land.

What really surprised me was that the decision to go ahead with the rate rise fell to the Mayor Tanya Richardson as the vote was tied at seven for and seven against.

Having previously campaigned for lower rate rises prior to landing the top job, one can only speculate as to what motivated the swift decision to cast the deciding vote and lock ratepayers into such a financially debilitating zero per cent to 30 per cent backflip!

The deputy mayor Ian Johnson was also in favour of the hike and had also previously campaigned against rate increases.

The rate hike is to be tied to the funding of tree planting programs to which there are already substantial funds allocated.

Is it really worth adding more to the millions already available?

What about the mum and dad investors, how will they cope with this new impost?

At the meeting, it was argued that the hike would encourage the building of more properties and alleviate the current housing and rental shortages.

But given the difficulty in securing a builder at the moment and the high interest rates needed to secure the funds to finance development, how can the council justify the hardship this may cause landowners as they struggle with the cost of living?

J Pollard

Jane Brook


Too much water

Dear Echo News,

I have recently received correspondence from an insurance company claiming that because I have over 50,000 litres of stored water for firefighting on my property, I am un-insurable.

I am only trying to get home and contents insurance for my 2ha property in Hovea, where I have 108,000 litres of water for use in firefighting emergencies.

Through this significant investment in firefighting infrastructure, I have made an effort to mitigate the bushfire risk on my property.

I have offered to reduce my water capacity by one tank (disconnecting 50,000 litres from my property), however, the insurance companies have not got back to me to confirm that this will make me insurable.

From my current position, I believe that insurers do not want to insure in bushfire-prone areas, especially after the devastating fires on the east coast, which proved costly to them.

It also seems that the other reason not to be offered the necessary home and contents insurance is that the size of my property exceeds their underwritten guidelines.

My current home and contents insurance expires at the start of March, and hopefully I will be able to find a sensible insurance company which can insure my home and the significant investments I have made into it.

P Boswell


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