Vehicle licensing changes to cost councils millions image

20 January 2017

Vehicle licensing and stamp duty could cost Albany ratepayers more than $200,000 annually from July 1 when the Department of Transport will discontinue concessions for local governments.

The WA Local Government Association has hit out at the plan which will cost WA councils millions in additional licensing and stamp duty fees each year.

City of Albany Chief Executive Officer Andrew Sharpe said it would be a significant extra cost burden. “It will be difficult for many councils to absorb these additional costs and in many cases rates could rise to pay for it,” he said.

In the 2015-2016 financial year the City of Albany had a fleet of 71 light vehicles and 77 heavy vehicles. Mr Sharpe said the City was currently assessing what the impact would be on its budget and how it can be funded.

“Our estimates put the annual figure in the range of $200,000 a year, or about $2 million over the next 10 years. When you consider the cumulative impact of this recurrent cost, it certainly will have a significant impact on our longer term financial capacity,” he said.

“We understand the State Government needs to find innovative ways to improve its budget position, but we don’t believe local government should have to carry this cost.”

WALGA president Cr Lynne Craigie said the delivery of services to the community could suffer.

“It’s disappointing to see the State engage in cost shifting such as this on the one hand, and then criticise councils for rates increases on the other,” she said. “By taking away these concessions, Councils will have to fund the shortfall through increased rates or diminished services to their community.

“We all recognise the State needs to remedy its dire financial situation, however instead of redressing overspend or achieving genuine savings this decision is just another example of cost shifting from the State to Local Government.”

Mr Sharpe urged the Government to find another solution that would not increase costs to Local Government or ratepayers.