Farm­ers baulk at pro­posed rates rise

Townsville Bulletin - - Inside Today -

AN agri­cul­tural or­gan­i­sa­tion is con­cerned eco­nomic re­cov­ery in the In­n­is­fail area may be thwarted if the Cas­sowary Coast Re­gional Coun­cil was forced to in­crease rates.

Cane­grow­ers In­n­is­fail chair­man Joe Marano said he was con­cerned af­ter the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment As­so­ci­a­tion of Queens­land last week ad­vised coun­cils they would have to in­crease their rates be­cause of the in­crease in costs of ma­te­ri­als.

‘‘ The lo­cal re­gion must un­der­take eco­nomic re­cov­ery quickly, but ratepay­ers – es­pe­cially ru­ral ratepay­ers – can ill af­ford these ad­di­tional im­posts fol­low­ing Cy­clone Yasi,’’ he said. The two ma­jor agri­cul­tural in­dus­tries in the area, sugar and ba­nanas, were hit hard by Cy­clone Yasi.

‘‘ Farm­ers will need ev­ery bit of fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance to re­cover – t h e l a s t t h i n g they need is the ad­di­tional burd e n o f h i g h e r rates to cover the c o u n c i l ’ s e x - p e c t e d h i g h e r costs of re­pair­ing or re­plac­ing in­fra­struc­ture,’’ Mr Marano said.

‘‘ All the agri­cul­tural in­dus­tries in the re­gion have taken a big hit fi­nan­cially and it will take sev­eral years to re­cover.

‘‘ Many farm­ers will have no prof­its from their crops and with the al­ready high level of lo­cal gov­ern­ment rates farm­ers are be­ing forced to pay ( and) any ad­di­tional cost bur­den may sim­ply be too much.’’

Marano

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