The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART)has approved special rate variations of up to 64.3 per cent for country councils in a move farmers say will smash local communities.
IPART announced 17 council applications for special rate variations had been approved, with the biggest cumulative rises being 64.3 per cent over three years. Ratepayers to Lithgow City Council, meanwhile, will cop a 45.78 per cent rise in just one year.
NSW Farmers President Xavier Martin said the rises were another hit to the bottom line, when farmers and families alike couldn’t afford it. “We’re all facing the same cost of living pressures, high power prices, high fuel prices, rising interest rates, and we’ve got no ability to meet those extra costs,” Mr Martin said.
“Every time you turn around someone’s putting their hand in the farmer’s pocket, and these rate rises will just further squeeze businesses and households in these areas.
“This is going to seriously hurt a number of farming businesses, and will also be a big hit to families.“The way local governments are funded, see ratepayers shoulder the burden,” Mr Martin said.