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Perilya 'should pay up'

Wednesday, 9th March, 2011

Council hopefull says end miner's rate cap

By Gayle Hogan

A 2009 decision to cap Perilya's rates had to be overturned in light of their recent $74 million profit, according to independent council candidate Larry Angell.

Removing the rate cap will be high on the agenda for Mr Angell if he is elected to City Council in this weekend's by-election.

"I think it's totally unfair with Perilya making record profits," he said yesterday.

"Whereas everyone else's rates have been going up, Perilya's have not.

"That decision really needs to be overturned.

"I understand helping mining companies during tough times.... but they should put something back."

Mr Angell's comments came after Perilya last week announced an after-tax profit of $74.2 million.

City Council adopted its five-year management plan in June 2009 to wean Council off dependence on mine rate income.

At the time Council's General Manager, Frank Zaknich, said more than 40 per cent of Council's income came from mining and the global financial crisis showed that mining was an unreliable source.

Mr Zaknich said Council was forced to raise other rates to avoid a big rate jump in the future.

"It's better for the community and obviously better for Council to redistribute that cap early and over an extended period of time rather than doing it later all in one blow," he said in 2009.

Mr Angell was yesterday handing out how-to-vote forms at the city's pre-poll booth in Argent Street.

Darren Flowers, who is overseeing pre-polling in the Council election, said 255 postal votes and 1,650 pre-poll votes have been processed. The pre-polling booth opened on Monday last week. 

Mr Angell said most of the voters have been playing their cards close to their chest and not giving much away about who they voted for.

"It's very difficult because there are three quality candidates in this election," he said.

"I think it's going to be a very tight election.

"It will come down to preferences."

Mr Angell was first elected to Council in a 1984 by-election and served as a Labor Councillor for six years. He then stood as an independent until 1999.

Mr Angell said the need to work with different political party representatives on a State and Federal level was behind his switch to becoming an independent.

"I really don't think politics in local government is a good thing," he said. "The best way to do that is as an independent."

Mr Angell said family commitments were behind his decision to take some time away from Council.

"After 15 years in Council you do get a little bit jaded but as you get older your perspective changes as well."

Now a father of four, a grandfather of four, step-grandfather of four and with two grandchildren on the way, Mr Angell said he was ready to serve on Council again.

In addition to the removal of Perilya's rate pegging, Mr Angell said he wants to see a more "co-ordinated strategy" for improving the condition of local streetscapes.

"One might argue that if we were not giving rate relief to the mines, we could have employed a few more people to pull out weeds." 

Mr Angell said using people such as local prisoners would also help reduce the weed problem.

He also wants to see Council working with business consultants to see what business opportunities will arise from the Federal Government's National Broadband Network.

Mr Angell said he would like to see internet-based businesses setting up in Broken Hill.

Also standing at this Saturday's by-election are Maureen Clark and David Gallagher. The by-election was called after Councillor Jamie Mitchell died late last year.

Perilya was invited to comment yesterday but the BDT's calls were not returned.

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