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Byron Shire
May 6, 2021

Lismore considers rate to restore farmland

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Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell. (file pic)
Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell. (file pic)

Darren Coyne

Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell said talk of a special rate variation to create a fund for farmers to do habitat restoration work on their land was premature.

Cr Dowell said eight councillors attended a workshop last week that considered possible rate variations put forward by the sustainable environment reference group.

Three options were considered. Raising rates by 1 per cent, 1.9 per cent or 2.7 per cent.

The first would raise $300,000, the second $500,000 and the third $700,000.

‘Three councillors were away and there were four councillors supporting and four against,’ Cr Dowell said.

‘It’s really far too early to be talking about it as it’s only a proposal and it would be a long way off.

‘The first step would be to complete the biodiversity management strategy and have that presented with proposals.

‘Council would need to give the strategy support before taking it to the community for consultation.’

Cr Dowell said the whole principle behind the idea of a rate variation was to create a fund to provide incentives to farmers.

‘It’s very much aimed at farmers who want to engage with habitat restoration work on their land,’ she said.

‘There are all sorts of options about who might pay but there appears to be an acceptance in council that any restoration should be borne by the whole community, not just farmers,’ she said.

Cr Dowell said there were some people on council who say it is too early to consider raising rates, and that more work needs to be done on improving efficiencies within the council.

‘Even if there was community support for a rate increase the council still may not proceed with applying to IPART,’ she said.



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  1. Jenny Dowell,
    I think it is the nature of all economies to have inflation if they are to proceed forward as inflation reflects the exchange of money for services
    It seems to me that a rise of 2.7 percent in rates will cover inflation, thereby not seeing any progress in funding for farmers for habitat restoration work. We are at a standstill still in the field while the field stands still. Councils need to make more money from their festivals and events so that tourists who come in from outside the area pay more so council rates need not go up so much. What happens in this area is that money from the left hand is put into the right hand instead of taking it from someone’s pocket in trousers that walk another area outside the far north coast. We need more tourists.


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