Farmers baulk at proposed rates rise
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.’’