Traders slugged

06NEWS Traders Slugged‘It’s getting too expensive to run a business in WA’

SMALL BUSINESS owners who sell second-hand goods have been slugged with an extraordinary 600 per cent increase in their dealer’s licence fee.

For Mark Lahogue, the owner of iconic Fremantle store the Record Finder, it takes what was a $500 annual licence fee to $3478.

He’s now considering moving to Melbourne, where the fee is $757.50.

News of the Barnett government’s whopping increase comes just four weeks from an election in which it is campaigning as a friend of small business.

Affected are second-hand dealers like Mr Lahogue, antique dealers, second-hand jewellery traders and pawnbrokers—including big chains like Cash Converters, which says its 22 WA stores face a staggering increase to $78,000 as it requires a joint second-hand dealer’s and pawnbroker’s licence for each one.

Mr Lahogue, who’s sold rare vinyls and music memorabilia on High Street for 27 years, says the fee hike is completely unwarranted and risks driving people out of business. His profits are already wafer-thin, with rents, rates and power all skyrocketing in recent years.

“I’m already paying $4500 in rent each month,” he told the Herald. He’d heard the landlord of a nearby vacant building wants $5600 a month.

“My CD sales have fallen by 95 per cent, so I’ve tried to diversify by selling second-hand music equipment.

“That and sales of new vinyl by young bands are keeping me afloat.

“Now I get hit with this, it could be the final straw. It’s getting too expensive to run a business in WA.”

Detective inspector Tony Vidovich from the WA police licence enforcement unit says the price hike is “reflective of full cost recovery” as required by the Barnett government’s pricing policy.

“On July 1, 2012 licence fees and charges were increased for a number of government licences,” he said.

Under the Pawnbrokers and Second Hand Dealers Act 1994, DVDs, CDs and second-hand music equipment are considered to be property that is commonly stolen, while vinyl records are deemed collectible and are exempt. The fee hikes do not affect charity shops that sell second-hand goods, nor weekend market stallholders.


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