OBERON Council staff will look at ways to create subcategories of land for rates purposes after a push by councillor Andrew McKibbin.
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It comes after Cr McKibbin told his fellow councillors earlier this year that the district's farmers who had been battered by drought could not absorb a steep increase in their rates because their land value had gone up.
He said the Valuer General had admitted that well-managed properties clear of weeds had had the highest increases in land values, whereas properties significantly infested with serrated tussock and blackberries had had the lowest increases in land value.
At Oberon Council's March ordinary meeting, Cr McKibbin moved a motion that council investigate creating three subcategories of farmland for the purposes of applying rating factors to land values determined by the Valuer General:
a) Subcategory 1 would be termed as "weed infested". It would apply if a portion of farmland is categorised by Upper Macquarie County Council as having a weed biosecurity rating of 3 or 4 under the UMCC Biosecurity Compliance and Enforcement Policy for a period of 12 months without being reduced to a rating of 1 or 2.
b) Subcategory 2 would be termed as "non-commercial farmland". It would apply if a portion of land does not have either or both:
i. A dominant use, of which is for farming (the business or industry of grazing, animal feedlots, dairying, pig farming, poultry farming, viticulture, orcharding, beekeeping, horticulture, vegetable growing, the growing of crops of any kind, forestry, or aquaculture, or any combination of those businesses or industries); and/or
ii. A significant and commercial purpose or character including the purpose of making a profit on a continuous or repetitive basis (whether or not a profit is actually made).
c) All other farmland would be categorised as farmland general.
An amended motion for the notice of motion was moved by Cr Mark Kellam and seconded by Cr Don Capel that council staff investigate and provide options for lawful, practical and equitable options for sub-categories across all rateable lands in the Oberon local government area.
The amended motion was carried with Cr Clive McCarthy voting against it.
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