Rates win reduces rent for residents

Headshot of Geoff Vivian
Geoff VivianMidwest Times
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Wonthella grandmother Phyllis Welsh is paying reduced rent for a two-bedroom unit in a “lovely quite area” close to her mother and Fifth Street shops.
Camera IconWonthella grandmother Phyllis Welsh is paying reduced rent for a two-bedroom unit in a “lovely quite area” close to her mother and Fifth Street shops. Credit: Geoff Vivian Midwest Times

Wonthella grandmother Phyllis Welsh is one of an Aboriginal housing organisation’s many tenants paying less rent this year.

Her weekly rent has been reduced by $10.

Murchison Region Aboriginal Corporation has successfully challenged the need to pay council rates on almost 100 housing properties it owns in the Gascoyne and Mid West.

Perth legal firm Gilbert & Tobin, which represents the organisation free-of-charge, successfully argued that MRAC was a registered charity and did not have to pay rates.

MRAC chief executive Mary Marshall said the corporation had been able to pass this saving on to its tenants.

“Their day-to-day living expenses are rising and this will help them meet these costs,” she said.

Ms Marshall said the organisation had offered to make “ex gratia” payments of 20 per cent of the amount an ordinary property owner would have to pay.

She said MRAC had concluded agreements with the City of Greater Geraldton and the shires of Carnarvon, Carnamah, Mingenew, Morowa, Northampton, Perenjori, Shark Bay and Three Springs.

“MRAC acknowledges and thanks the councillors and staff of these nine local government areas for their willingness to negotiate a positive outcome for all stakeholders,” she said.

Ms Marshall said MRAC or public housing was the only real sustainable housing option for many tenants.

She said Meekatharra, Mount Magnet and Yalgoo shires were yet to grant the exemp- tion.

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