The Nationals WA have called on the State Government to immediately remove the Water Corporation service fee paid by businesses with multiple major sewerage fixtures – such as toilets or urinals – within a property.
Leader Mia Davies said the ‘toilet tax’ required regional caravan parks, hotels, motels, restaurants and cafes to pay significant fees to Water Corporation every month when most of these businesses were closed or operating in a limited capacity.
“These businesses continue to be charged for each toilet fixture despite these utilities being unused, there’s not a toilet being flushed,” Ms Davies said.
“The impact is compounded in many regional areas where businesses are also paying significantly higher prices per kilolitre for water use.”
In Parliament today Ms Davies asked if the Government would remove the service charge for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Treasurer said that work was currently being done by Government but would not guarantee when or how it might be introduced,” she said.
“The Water Corporation has a very healthy balance sheet and returned $545 million to the State coffers last financial year so they should be directed to cease this charge immediately to relieve the pressure on businesses already stretched to the limit.”
Water Corporation’s service charge is based on the number of major sewerage fixtures, including toilets or urinals, within a property.
The Nationals small business spokesperson Vince Catania said regional businesses and tourism operators had been raising concerns about the ‘toilet tax’ for some time and said the situation had become urgent since COVID-19 restrictions came into effect.
“Continuing to charge the service fee is unconscionable in these difficult times and Government needs to move fast to remove any unnecessary fees and charges,” he said.
“The State Government needs to intervene and alleviate the financial pressure struggling businesses are already facing. This is particularly relevant to businesses that rely on seasonal visitation to drive revenue but will miss out due to travel restrictions and forced closures.
“Right across the State there are hotels, motels, caravan parks, cafes and restaurants with no guests, no income and no sign of relief.
“It’s time for the State Government to flush the toilet tax and support regional economies battling this crisis.”