Meet the 83yo Marmor grazier who's been hit 10 times by levy
IF DEALING with two years of drought wasn't enough worry, Marmor grazier Reg Shields now has even more on his plate.
The hard-working 83-year-old has become the latest victim of the State Government's Emergency Management Levy audit, which revealed Rockhampton Region property owners were being charged just one fee instead of paying multiple fees for the number of lots on their land.
As his property is made up of 10 lots which amounts to 700 hectares, Reg has joined a list of numerous property owners who've been hit with a big increase.
In his case, more than $400 was whacked on top of his rates bill and after 60 years on the property it's another expense to bite into a dwindling income.
"The reason I'm concerned about the increase to the levy, it all adds up to slowly losing profit on the farm."
Currently in drought, Reg and his wife own about 200 head of cattle, and the past two years have been difficult.
"This year, our summer rain has particularly been below average," he said.
"Our case would not be unique, the way the levy is constructed affects producers differently.
"My wife and I bought the property off my parents who ran a dairy farm," he said.
After Reg and his wife ceased dairying in 2000, they focused on small beef herds.
As he spoke to The Morning Bulletin this week, Mr Shields said the old system which was in place saw him charged $106 per year for each rates notice.
However, now under the current system he's charged $470 per year for the levy.
"The increase is substantial, and it could be worse," he said.
"There are implications for rural uses...there are a number of properties which have smaller blocks."
It was confirmed this week Member for Mirani Stephen Andrew would meet with concerned Mount Morgan residents next week to lobby a change to the system. A meeting will be held at the Mount Morgan School of Arts from 11am on Thursday.