Press Release

Milan_zaklan

FARMERS RATE INCREASE UNJUSTIFIED SAYS PGA

2011-11-29

The recent decision by the Gingin Shire to increase rates by up to 131% on hundreds of properties engaged in intensive farming to cover shortfalls in monies for public works has been questioned by the Pastoralists and Graziers Association (PGA).

 

PGA Private Property Rights Policy Director Milan Zaklan said the Council’s justification for targeting farmers because of claims that their trucks and machinery have a heavy impact on the roads is unfounded and is unfairly targeting rural property owners.

 

"It is nonsense to suggest that farm machinery has a ' heavy impact on roads' and it is unfair to target heavy vehicles which already carry massive taxes beyond any rational argument relating to road damage,” said Mr Zaklan.

 

“Agricultural activities have far less impact on roads than other industries such as resource extraction including limestone, clay and sand."

 

“Western Australia has one of the highest per capita revenue intake from heavy vehicle fee and taxes in Australia.  These charges are set to ensure that heavy vehicles ‘pay their way’ for the costs they cause by wear and tear of roads and bridges and it is wrong for local authorities to "decide" to penalise heavy vehicle users a second time."

 

"It is more likely the case that the Shire of Gingin, in common with local governments throughout regional Western Australia, have suffered from totally inadequate road funding revenue from the State and Federal Governments and have taken the easy way out and deferred work on a road that 'should be OK for a bit longer'.”

 

“The majority of intensive farming operations are located on the outskirts of the Shire and whilst some may have frequent visits from the heavily taxed trucks they do not benefit from council services such as street lighting, rubbish disposal and recreational facilities,” he said.

 

“So why should the farming community, which is the backbone of the Shire, be forced to pay for road damage they have already paid for and services they do not use?”

 

“The PGA is calling on the Gingin Council to explain their action of targeting a specific group of private property owners, based on the fact that they are involved in intensive agriculture activities.”

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