The Nationals WA welcome the decision to provide temporary relief on the crippling toilet tax but call for a long-term solution to the excessive water charges hurting struggling regional hospitality businesses.
For months The Nationals have been pushing the State Government to waive the wastewater costs for permanent fixtures, such as toilets, which had been an added burden for operators impacted by COVID-19 restrictions.
Party spokesperson for small business and tourism Vince Catania said that even before the onset of the coronavirus crisis, the toilet tax was a major financial headache for venues and premises.
“If a hotel owner in a regional centre had 30 toilets, they could have been up for as much as $3500 per bill in sewerage fees irrespective of whether anyone had flushed them.
“With tourism and travel in WA virtually non-existent for the past three months the toilet tax was still charged and had to be paid even though premises were empty.
“It was imperative the Water Minister finally heard the pleas of businesses across the State, which we repeated in Parliament, and waived the toilet tax to give those operators a break.”
Mr Catania said while the four-month waiver of the toilet tax would aid struggling businesses, the Minister needed to consider a long-term solution to the charges.
“After August 31, caravan parks, hotels and pubs across regional WA will continue to be slugged thousands of dollars each month by the State Government for sewerage costs – despite the fact their toilets are going unused as they enter a low shoulder in the tourist season,” he said.
“Also, only businesses eligible for Jobkeeper will be able to have the toilet tax waived, raising concerns this initiative will resemble the disaster created within the Tourism Relief Package when hundreds of genuine tourism businesses slipped through the cracks.
“While COVID-19 has exacerbated the impact of the toilet tax as businesses see reduced cash flow, it is an ongoing problem which needs a permanent fix – something the dismissive Water Minister refuses to accept.”