Los­ing a liveli­hood

The Western Star - - News - JAMES LIVERIS [email protected]­ern­starnews.com

RICK Wil­liams moved to St Ge­orge in 1996 to start his dream and in two weeks the 52-year-old will face a loss of his busi­ness, his home and his liveli­hood.

“I have school­ing up to Year 6, I have no trade, I’ve been do­ing this for the last 20 years and this is all I know,” Mr Wil­liams said.

“I’m go­ing to be home­less, un­em­ployed and coun­cil couldn’t care less.”

Mr Wil­liams owns Ka­punda Fish­ing Park, a com­mer­cial camp­ing car­a­van park 10km north of St Ge­orge, which sits on land that coun­cil has been forced to auc­tion due to out­stand­ing debt on rates.

Debts that Mr Wil­liams claims coun­cil has caused.

In 2013, the Balonne Shire Coun­cil started to fa­cil­i­tate and im­ple­ment free camp­ing ar­eas through­out the shire.

It was from that point that Mr Wil­liams said his busi­ness was jeop­ar­dised.

“In the last 10 years, my in­come has gone from $150,000 turnover to $86,000,” Mr Wil­liams said.

“I’m go­ing to go bust, I turned over $86,000 this year and it costs me $70,000 to run it. The coun­cil told me they are go­ing to sell me up in the next cou­ple of months — so I can’t hold on.

“I have an out­stand­ing debt of $26,000 that I owe coun­cil, they have given me a no­tice of in­ten­tion to auc­tion my land and will start the pro­ce­dures within 90 days.

“Free camp­ing should have never come into the shire, no one can com­pete against some­thing for free.”

Balonne mayor Richard Marsh said no or­gan­i­sa­tion nor coun­cil en­joyed the si­t­u­a­tion where they had to col­lect debts that could have dis­as­trous ef­fects on the owner in­volved.

“We deal with ratepay­ers all the time, and un­for­tu­nately there are times when peo­ple fall un­der risk for any num­ber of rea­sons,” Cr Marsh said.

“There is a process that we need to go through, and it is pretty well set out in leg­is­la­tion and none of th­ese de­ci­sions are taken lightly.

“We are sell­ing a prop­erty which is ob­vi­ously at a dis­ad­van­tage to the owner but from the point of view from the com­mu­nity we have to take the ac­tions that are avail­able to us.”

LOS­ING THE FIGHT: Owner of Ka­punda Fish­ing Park Rick Wil­liams is fac­ing los­ing his busi­ness. Photo: James Liveris

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.