Farmers wait for rate relief news

COFFS Harbour City Council will receive a report on a proposal for rural rate relief before Christmas.

The council’s director of corporate business, Craig Milburn, promised yesterday the report would be in the hands of councillors before the holiday break.

Mr Milburn said the matter was a lot more complex than people realised.

He said this was due to the classification of a primary producer, which was defined by the Australian Taxation Office and was not information held by the council.

At the July 8 council meeting, during the process of setting rates and charges for 2010-11, councillors asked that a report be brought back to council showing the impact on the budget of a two-year rate concession for primary producers, protecting them from rate rises for two years on their farm property.

Those eligible were to be farmers who fitted the status of primary producer according to the ATO and the concession was to be reviewed in two years.

Cr Denise Knight, who moved the motion, said she wanted to give farmers a break after dealing with two years of floods and droughts.

At that meeting 2010-11 farmland rates were set at 0.32c in the dollar with a base amount of $278 for all rateable land in the city classified as farmland. Farmers have been waiting anxiously to hear the results of the report.

The deputy mayor said yesterday it was ‘on her list’ but Cr Knight said staff kept saying there was no money available if she wanted the entertainment centre.

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