Land owners vent anger at rating

THE rating system by the Livestock Health and Pest Authorities (LHPA) is an archaic one.

That was the message coming out loud and clear from the property owners who attended yesterday's LHPA review meeting in Casino.

Emotions ran high at the beginning of the meeting when many property owners aired their grievances with a system they considered unfair and out of date.

Industry heads representing various stakeholders also attended the meeting.

Australian Macadamia Society CEO Jolyon Burnett said as representative of North Coast macadamia farmers he was disappointed at the LHPA processes.

"My members said they get no benefits as they carry no livestock and they pay for their own pest control," he said.

"It is inequitable as growers are subsidising the livestock industry, but there is no cross-subsidy back."

Lismore MP Thomas George said while farms once stretched from inland to the coast, lifestyle blocks had changed that.

"Unfortunately the rating system has not kept up," he said.

One farmer said the LHPA should stop rating farmers on the size of their land, regardless of how much stock they had.

He pointed out that during the 2000-2001 drought many farmers cut back on their stock but were still being charged the full tax.

Dairy and beef farmer Kath Robb of Alstonville questioned the arbitrary limit of not rating property owners of less than 10ha and cane farmers, especially in relation to feral pest management.

"I wasn't aware feral pests knew which property to go to," she said.

"I see it as an unfair impost to one section of the community."



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