5 August 2004

The Nationals, Thomas George, Member for Lismore welcomed yesterdays announcement of a moratorium on the payment of increased fees for Enclosed Road Permits.

I have made representations to the Minister for Lands, Tony Kelly asking for a commonsense and equitable solution bearing in mind the drought conditions and the financial circumstances of many of the landholders.

"I have highlighted to the Minister that the value of the land in many cases did not warrant the landholder paying the increased rentals nor the conversion costs, therefore the Government would be left with small parcels of land all over the place that they could do nothing with.

"On this issue this Government created chaos," Mr George said, "my Electorate Office, like many others were inundated with calls. Landholders were ropeable.

"I welcome the Minister's intervention. However, that should not have been necessary. This moratorium I hope will allow time to sort out a commonsense methodology to achieve a workable solution for everyone. A return to the previous level of rent for these enclosed lands seems to be the consensus of those contacting my office.

"The Government must allow a submission period to allow landholders to make recommendations and suggestions. I will be forwarding letters received by my office to the Minister for his attention.

Mr George said that most of the land in question is no good to anyone apart from the adjoining landholder and the cost of the Government's administration of these permits is obviously a great windfall for Treasury.

"I remain critical of the Government's blunt and heavy-handed approach to issues like this; its purely revenue raising with no thought or consultation with those effected.

"When you consider that the new fees are to be $350 times that by the 45,000 permits, that is a whopping $16m.

"If it costs that much to administer, one must ask where that money is going. That is absolutely enormous and the Government could very well use that money to hand these small parcels of land over to the landholders at a realistic cost in line with the value of the land.

"I am pleased with the decision to put the process on hold and look forward to the Minister allowing my constituents to have a say in the process that should be followed to settle the matter in a reasonable manner and at a reasonable price," Mr George concluded.

Contact Details:

Office: 55 Carrington Street  LISMORE
Postal: PO Box 52  LISMORE  NSW  2480
Telephone: 1800 336 166 or 02 6621 3624
Facsimile: 02 6622 1403  Email:

Authorised by Thomas George MP. Funded using Parliamentary entitlements.