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Mayor backs miners

Thursday, 10th March, 2011

Wincen Cuy Wincen Cuy

Cuy rejects calls for rate increase

By Gina Wilson

The mayor has dismissed comments by council candidates who said Perilya should pay more in rates because of the amount of money it earned.

Wincen Cuy said it was a throw away line and the would-be-councillors were not informed of all the facts.

His comments follow two of the three candidates in the city's upcoming by-election saying the pegging of the city's mine rates needed to be lifted.

"I think it needs to be an informed decision. It's easy for someone to say they're earning all this money, why don't we lift their rates," the mayor said.

"That's just a throw away line."

Independent candidate Larry Angell this week said Council's decision to cap Perilya's mine rates should be overturned.

Mr Angell said the decision was "totally unfair" in light of its 2010 multi-million after tax profit and that it was unfair for locals to bear that financial burden and pay more.

Yesterday Labor's candidate for the by-election, Maureen Clark, told ABC radio there should be a review, however she said that could be tempered by Perilya's contribution to the heavy haulage road.

"Perilya will probably be called upon to contribute to, rather heavily, the bypass road that's going to be built in Broken Hill from the Potosi mine to the processing plant on the Wentworth Road."

But Mayor Cuy said rates, including the amount miners Perilya and CBH Resources paid, were reviewed yearly.

This, he said, was despite the decision to cap the mine rates.

"Everything is up for grabs."

Rates are based on land values which are supplied by the NSW Valuer General and are then calculated by a combination of factors which include the land values and a fixed amount per property.

In 2009, the total rate income paid by the city's two mines was capped at $3.29 million for five years.

The decision was founded on an agreement between former mine owner Pasminco and Council.

City Councillors will review rate amounts at the April monthly meeting, including whether to increase rates for the 2011/12 period by 2.8 per cent this year, as nominated by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART).

"Everything will be there to be reviewed," Mayor Cuy said.

If rates were to be increased, City Council said it would use the income above the capped amount in an infrastructure fund.

Meanwhile a story in yesterday's BDT said that Council's rate income was more than 40 per cent attributable to mining. That is incorrect. Of City Council's around $12 million in rates about 27 per cent is attributable to mine rates.

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