Local Government Minister John Castrilli today rejected Opposition claims that increases in electricity charges were going to cause rate increases of as much as five per cent for Western Australian households.
Mr Castrilli said the Labor Party made similar allegations last year and they were totally unsubstantiated.
The Minister said utility charges were just one of the expenses that a local government must budget for.
“When local government budgets were released for 2010-11, an analysis of the figures showed that for a sample of three metropolitan city councils and one regional city, utility increases, expressed as a percentage of total expenditure, increased on average by less than four per cent for each of those years,” he said.
“This was compared to an increase by as much as 17 per cent for staff costs.”
Mr Castrilli said just as householders need to balance their budgets so too do each local government.
“They determine what their needs are and what their expenditure should be based on what their communities can afford,” he said.
“Each local government has decisions to make on discretionary expenditure and on developing alternative sources of revenue to rates.
“The City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder, for example, has been innovative in developing a range of commercial revenue-raising activities that generate several million dollars annually, to assist with capital improvements to benefit their residents.
“I applaud those local governments that think and act strategically.
“For the Opposition to claim the State’s utility charges are putting huge pressures on local government rates ignores the fact that these are but one of the costs of delivering services.”
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