CHANGES TO CROWN LANDS RENTS AND CHARGES CAUSING HEADACHES FOR FARMERS

CHANGES TO CROWN LANDS RENTS AND CHARGES CAUSING HEADACHES FOR FARMERS

CHANGES TO CROWN LANDS RENTS AND CHARGES CAUSING HEADACHES FOR FARMERS

29 July 2004

The Nationals Member for Lismore, Thomas George has called on the NSW Labor Government to promptly address the many concerns of landholders regarding the increase in rents and charges for Crown lands, including the costs of conversion to freehold land.

My office has been inundated with calls from concerned landholders after notices from the Department of Lands were sent out last week.

"I am particularly concerned with the new costs associated with road enclosure permits, especially when these areas of land are often unproductive. We are amidst the worst drought in the last 100 years and RLPB's are currently waiting on a further drought declaration and to gouge excessive fees and charges from farmers, at this time is disgusting," Mr George said.

"Road enclosures are often within the boundaries of freehold or perpetual leasehold land, making them inaccessible for public or Crown use without the consent of the surrounding landholder. There can be several on one property.

"Farmers can convert these road enclosure leases to freehold, however, in the case of these type of permits they face exorbitant Government costs to do so when the land itself is worth very little.

"If the landholder chooses to continue to rent the area, costs will progressively rise from $50 a year to $350 by 2006. If they return the land to the Crown, the landholder must fence the area at their own cost. Average costs to convert are approximately $3,000 when the land may only be worth several hundred dollars."

The Nationals team are urging Lands Minister, Tony Kelly, to adopt a commonsense approach to this issue and consider waiving some of the charges in the case of road enclosure permits.

"The charges associated with the conversions were not spelt out in Labor's legislation and have come as a big surprise to landholders," Mr George said.

"I am also concerned that Labor, given its record, will continue to up the rental charges to plug the hole created by its own financial mismanagement.

"Labor has consistently stated that the costs of administering and managing Crown land is a burden on taxpayers, so surely it is in the interests of the Government to make it as easy as possible to convert these leases to freehold" concluded Mr George.

Lismore Contact Details:

Office: 55 Carrington Street  LISMORE
Postal: PO Box 52  LISMORE  NSW  2480
Telephone: 02 6621 3624
Facsimile: 02 6622 1403
Email: lismore@parliament.nsw.gov.au

Murwillumbah Contact Details:

Telephone: 02 6672 7577