Marina berth owners around the state are breathing a collective sigh of relief, following the successful passage of the Local Government (Rates) Amendment Bill.
In 2011, Port Adelaide Enfield Council notified marina berth owners that a long-standing rate rebate on individual berths would be removed and full council rates applied.
Council argued they had received legal advice that the rebate could no longer be applied. This essentially resulted in berths with an average value of $50,000 being charged council rates at the same level as a residential property worth $300,000.
As a result, independent member of the Legislative Council, the Hon. John Darley M.L.C., introduced the Local Government (Rates) Amendment Bill which prevents Councils from charging a minimum rate for marina berths. Instead,
Councils would be able to calculate rates for a marina berth using a differential rate, which could not exceed the commercial differential rate that Council uses.
As an example, the current minimum rate for the City of Holdfast Bay is $832. Marina berth owners are charged this amount even though the Council provides no services to the berth. Under the changes, the new rates would be reduced to $186.75.
“The existing rating system is and always has been, nothing more than a revenue-raising exercise on the part of Councils at the expense of boat owners” John Darley M.L.C. said.
“I am very pleased that common sense has prevailed and that this bill passed with bipartisan support. I am particularly thankful to the Member for Port Adelaide, Dr Susan Close for her continued support. These changes will go a long way in rectifying an inequitable situation.”
The Bill was developed in consultation with Glen Jones, General Manager of the Boating Industry Association of SA (BIASA) and Craig Evans, CEO of the Cruising Yacht Club of SA, who both welcomed the news. Mr Jones confirmed that it had been a very long haul, with the argument being pursued by the BIASA since 2002.
“John has been a close friend and colleague for nearly three decades and he has delivered the industry with a great result and a welcome relief” he said.