Waroona resident speaks up on high shire rates

A Waroona resident is calling on the local community to “sack the Waroona Shire” for failing to deliver on new infrastructure in town.

Greg Smith started the online petition around a month ago, after receiving this year’s rates notice, which asked him to fork out $1,877.64 in rates for his 700sqm property.

According to the resident, council rates have gone up by almost 20 per cent in the last three years but no new facilities have been built in town.

“We have no major shopping centres, no malls, no theatres, in fact we don't have much of anything,” he said.

“For that money we should have a top notch town that drew people in.

“To me [the Shire] are just incompetent.

“There’s so much money going into them but then we don’t see anything, where is our money going?"

Mr Smith, who is a single income earner working on support services, said he struggled to meet the payments and was thinking about moving to a neighbouring shire with lower council rates.

“I’m a single income earner, I live from wage to wage,” he said.

“The town is getting too expensive for me to live in.”

He said he had been making fortnightly payments to pay off the bill, however, he said that after starting the  online petition he had received a final notice asking him to pay the rates in full.

A payment he was unable to meet.

“This is affecting my mental health,” he said.

“This is a clear case of bullying, I don’t need this kind of harassment, I pay what I can.”

Shire of Waroona chief Ian Curley said the shire’s rates collection was done according to council policy, not based on the ratepayer’s issues with the Shire. 

“Ratepayers are able to pay their rates in full or in quarterly installments,” he said.

“Ratepayers who are having difficulty in paying their rates by these methods are invited to contact the Shire to make special payment arrangements.

“Those who ignore the options available to them are set a final notice shortly after the due date in accordance with Shire policy.”

According to Mr Curley, more than 400 residents had been issued with a final notice this year.

He said the money collected through rates payment this year would be used to fund $3 million in capital purchases, including $1.76 million in road construction projects and $550,000 to replace the Preston Beach Community Centre.