Rental increase hits farmers hard

The increase in her farm access lease has left Glenys van der Straat feeling shocked and angry.
The increase in her farm access lease has left Glenys van der Straat feeling shocked and angry. Ken Smith

FARMERS in the Bundaberg region are shaking their heads after a massive increase in lease fees for road access and reserves which cut through their properties.

A number of landowners got a nasty shock when they received their annual bill earlier this week and found the charges had gone up by more than $300.

Childers grazier Glenys van der Straat was suffering some sticker shock when she opened her mail earlier in the week.

“I can't accommodate it and it does not warrant $407 for continuity of land so the cattle can walk across it to the other part of my property,” she said.

“The new price is the minimum which goes from about 50 acres and down.”

The parcel of land Ms van der Straat leases from the state government is about one acre.

“If I give it up, it's just such a damn inconvenience,” she said.

Further north in Bororen the new billing situation was just as bleak for grazier David Richter.

Mr Richter, who leases part of a stock route and a part of a water reserve, was disappointed.

“There has been no consideration of the value of the property,” he said.

“Of the two I have one is valued at $23,000 and the other $14,000 and I'm being charged the same price.”

Like Ms van der Straat, Mr Richter had previously paid about $82 a year and was now charged $407 a year for the land.

Director-General of Department of Environment and Resource Management John Bradley said the rental changes were made in changes to the laws came into effect on July 1 — the first major change in 15 years.

“It reflects a fair and reasonable rent taking into account both benefits leaseholders gain from using the land, and the state's cost in administering the leaseholder portfolio, which is currently worth some $6.812 billion,” he said.

Landholders were given a three-month extension to December 1 to pay their land rents yesterday.

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