In response, Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance policy director Emilie Dye said the Balranald Shire is forcing hotels to flush those funds down the proverbial toilet.
In lieu of new and creative local taxes, she said the councils should instead be allowed to keep more of the traditional tax revenue collected in their community.
“Local government collects a mere 3.4 per cent of tax revenue, while the federal government greedily laps up 81.4 per cent of the revenue. The Commonwealth government expects councils to provide all of the practical services, like sewage, that allow a community to function, while siphoning off the bulk of the funds,” Ms Dye said.
“The Balranald Shire needs to repeal the shitty pedestal tax before all the hotels in their local area go under, and the federal government needs to make councils privy to the money already collected in their area.”
The Balranald Shire in south-west NSW laid out in its 2019–20 budget a pedestal tax requiring the town’s hotels, clubs and pubs to pay $100 for every toilet in excess of two.
The council has struggled financially, going into administration earlier this year.
Co-owner of the Balranald Motor Inn and Billabong Restaurant Lisa Dalton told ABC News that many operators opposed the pedestal charge when it was first introduced.
“We are objecting to it (again), but we are just feeling quite stressed about it and concerned that nobody is listening to us,” she said.
Ms Dalton noted that her business had suffered in the past year with COVID-19 and last summer’s bushfires slowing tourism in the town.
“We’ve seen a 90 per cent decrease in income and looking at a 2 per cent occupancy rate at the moment,” she said.