TWA ratings probe on the cards

Taylar AmoniniNorth West Telegraph

In an effort to alleviate what officers say is an unfair rates burden on residents, the Town of Port Hedland council will decide whether to request that some transient workforce accommodation be placed into different ratings categories.

Town officers have recommend that at tonight’s council meeting an application be lodged with the Department of Local Government to request gross rating values of the TWAs be looked at — meaning they could pay more in rates. There are seven TWAs within the Town’s boundaries that would be affected — Poondano Village, Pardoo Accommodation Village, Mooka Village, Wodgina, Pippingarra Quarry Camp, Camp Qube and Mount Dove.

The Local Government Department’s policy does not specify a camp must be in operation to request a GRV for rating purposes, so despite some camps not being active, they are still included.

Town senior rates officer Carmen Walsh authored the agenda item for tonight’s meeting, writing the TWAs “are not providing an equal and fair contribution to the Town’s rates income compared to other camp and business operators of Port Hedland”.

In November, 2015, the town sent a letter to the tenement owners telling them the authority intended to ask for a review of all TWAs within the Town’s municipality.

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The Shire of East Pilbara is spot-rating all 18 camps within its transient workforce rates category and derives about 10 per cent of its total rates revenue from TWAs.

Based on the rate in the dollar amount approved by the local government minister for the 2016-17 financial year for the GRV Mass Accommodation rate code, the potential revenue from the Town of Port Hedland’s TWAs would be $1,105,000.

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