WA’s ‘Know how rates are calculated’ competition

Independent research, commissioned by the Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA), has found only about one in five ratepayers can identify how rates are calculated.

Of the remainder, 32 percent believed rates were calculated similar to stamp duty, with another 14 percent linking rates directly to the housing market.  

Just 22 percent correctly identified that rates form a portion of each Local Government’s annual budget.

The survey of 1000 West Australians from across the state found 73 percent of respondents wanted to better understand the process.

It also found that 69 percent of people wanted a greater say on their rates; while about 40 percent would be prepared to either pay higher rates for more services, or accept a cut to services for lower rates.

Town of Port Hedland Mayor, Peter Carter said rates form a significant part of the operating budgets councils needed to provide the facilities and services required by their respective communities.

“The greater the input from the community and involvement with the Council, the more likely it is that the services and facilities provided, and the rates required, will meet their expectations.”

A state-wide competition early this month challenged ratepayers to describe the correct method used to calculate their Rates.

Supported by WALGA, the competition offered 10 prizes of having residential rates paid up to $3,500 by choosing the correct calculation method from three options.

By running the competition, WALGA hoped to improve understanding of how rates were calculated in response to the research finding that the majority of ratepayers wanted to better understand this process.