Chalice to pay as new mining rate quashed
By Michael Sinclair-Jones
TOODYAY councillors have adopted a revised 2022-23 shire budget after the State Government rejected a new mining rate to pay for increased damage to local shire roads.
A new shire agreement with Chalice Mining is expected to pay for the shortfall.
Ministerial rejection required the State Administrative Tribunal to quash the shire’s new mining rate adopted last August and for the council to revise its 2022-23 budget.Read more
The State Government said re-advertising the revised budget for public comment was “not considered necessary” if the “reasons and objects for proposing differential rates” were consistent with those previously advertised last year.
The overall outcome remains the same, and Shire CEO Suzie Haslehurst said Chalice – which is developing what it calls a “world-class” mineral deposit in Julimar – had agreed to pay the increased cost of local road repairs.
Roads used by local farmers to transport crops, livestock and other bulk materials were being damaged by heavy mining traffic, with ratepayers having to foot the bill.
All other 2022-23 rates adopted last year remain the same, and most ratepayers will not see any difference in their payments.
Chalice will now pay the same ‘UV (Unimproved Value) General’ rate of 0.014170c in the dollar as properties used for “residential and/or minor rural pursuits”.
Councillors voted on August 10 last year – 21 days before an August 31 budget deadline imposed by the State – to adopt a new mining rate to pay for road repairs.
Ministerial approval had been sought on July 15.
Councillors agreed at the time to amend the budget if the new rate was rejected.
The Minister’s office did not respond until September 5, when the new rate was rejected for being more than twice the next highest rate in the council’s 2022-23 budget.
Councillors agreed this month to adopt a revised budget and send new rates notices to the owners of 35 local properties covered by mining and mineral exploration leases.
They also agreed to forward their revised 2022-23 budget to the Minister’s office by the end of this month.
The $152,715 drop in shire revenue for road repairs is expected to be covered by a new “road maintenance agreement” with Chalice.
“All conditions have been discussed and generally agreed with Chalice personnel,” Shire Corporate and Community Services Manager Tabitha Bateman reported to this month’s special council meeting.
“The first Chalice-initiated maintenace grade was completed in December.”