One property, two rates bills
OUT on the new Gympie Region frontier, Graham and Kathy Blowers are tired of sitting on both sides of a barbed wire fence.
“It's getting a bit prickly,” Kathy said. “And we are so sick of bureaucrats.”
The Blowers family are the forgotten people of local government amalgamation and, as a result, are currently getting two big rates bills, from two different councils, for the one block of land.
One of the bills comes from Gympie Regional Council and the other from Fraser Coast Regional Council, both of which claim parts of the property in their territory.
And, as Graham points out, the situation could be resolved at the stroke of a pen if there was any such thing as common sense.
Fortunately, Gympie Regional Council is backing the Blowers in their bid to be treated just like the rest of us and to have their land rated in one regional council area only.
The background to this is a long story, beginning two years ago, when the Blowers started the seemingly simple process of shifting their boundary to include a small area they had purchased from their next door neighbour.
With both bits of land in the then Tiaro Shire, they did not imagine there would be so many problems.
Then followed two years of incredibly complex and frustrating paperwork, while council and government agencies tried to work it out.
Then along came council amalgamations.
Tiaro was cut in two, with most of it going to the new Fraser Coast Regional Council and the bottom one-third going into Gympie Region.
The boundary line between the councils was drawn along the old property line because the map makers at the Department of Environment and Resource Management did not know about the Blowers' boundary change.
Now their single block of land, on a single title, has the boundary going through it, with their tiny new section in Gympie Region.
They are charged the minimum rate for the Gympie part, but even that minimum is most people's idea of a big hole in the budget and a lot of money to pay for nothing.
“We'd be flat out grazing 10 or 12 cattle on it,” Graham said yesterday.
Add to that the new load limit on their only bridge across Munna Creek and you have a situation where they can't get a loaded cattle truck across to market.
“And a lot of our living is farm forestry and you certainly can't get a logging truck across,” he said.
When the issue came up at this week's Gympie council meeting, it was resolved that council would back the Blowers in their case for a change to the council boundary.