Producers savage rate hike proposal

PRIMARY producers in the northern Adelaide Plains could be whacked with double, or triple, rate increases, as Playford Council aims to reduce its residential and commercial rates.

The proposed rate increase is one of three options presented to council’s elected members under the current rate review – the others being a rate freeze at the current level for the next five years, or a continuation of council’s current rate policy.

This first option would slap primary production property owners with increases anywhere between $541 and $56,292 per year, based on their property’s value.

If endorsed, a Playford Council spokesperson said the result would be a 60 and 91 per cent decrease of residential and commercial rates, respectively, while 6.9 per cent of primary production properties would receive a reduction.

Additionally, 50 per cent would receive either no reduction, or a modest increase of just under $6 per week.

Horticultural industry bodies AusVeg SA and HortEx Alliance have voiced major opposition to the proposal.

“The South Australian Government recently announced $110 million worth of water infrastructure for the Northern Adelaide Plains region, which will help unlock the potential of horticulture to lead a revival in the economy in Adelaide’s north,” AusVeg SA state manager Jordan Brooke-Barnett said.

“This proposal puts these investments at risk, as even smaller growers will have to wear double the rates under this proposal, with larger growers facing an increase of nearly triple.

“This announcement is an insult to industry after growers are only just recovering from the 2016 floods.”
HortEx Alliance executive officer Bryan Robertson said the proposed rate increases were in stark opposition to economic development goals for the region.

“The northern Adelaide Plains region is the prominent horticulture region in South Australia and is situated close to Adelaide’s northern suburbs, and has the potential to grow and provide a further 3700 jobs,” he said.

“With the departure of Holden in the north, horticulture is expected to do a lot of heavy lifting and cannot afford to wear such a heavy rate increase.”

At Playford Council’s meeting Tuesday night, elected members voted to put all three options out to community consultation, which will commence from Wednesday, April 26, to Tuesday, May 23.

To have your say, visit playford.sa.gov.au, email publicconsultation@playford.sa.gov.au or submit a hard copy at Playford Civic Centre or the Stretton Centre.

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Growing up in Roseworthy and attending Kapunda High School, Laura joins The Bunyip in June, 2016 whilst completing the final year of a double degree in Journalism and International Relations at University of SA. This is Laura's first role as a Journalist following a stint at Gawler Council in the Communications Department. She will cover the news in the Playford and Mallala council regions. Outside of work, Laura enjoys anything health and well-being related, and can be regularly seen shopping for fresh, healthy produce at local markets.

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