Feedlot fee change a win
TELLING Gympie Region Deputy Mayor Tony Perrett he was out of order this week, Cr Ian Petersen denied council had raised the application fees for feedlots to deter them in the region.
Cr Perrett was speaking in Wednesday’s Planning and Development Committee meeting after a report suggested the former Cooloola Shire Council had raised the fees charged for feedlot applications to discourage them in the area.
The councillor said he was concerned a proposed new fee structure might also be jacking up the price to deter feedlots.
“I wouldn’t like to think this council elevated costs to prohibit feedlots,” he said.
That comment riled up committee’s chair Cr Petersen, causing him to defend the proposed new fees, saying they only just covered the work council staff would do in assessing each feedlot.
“I think that’s out of order Councillor Perrett,” he said.
The proposed new fees were $2069 for feedlots up to 49 head, from 49 – 499 head $4143 and for over 499 head $8128.
Previously there was just one fee for all types of feedlots which was about $7000 according to council’s Director of Planning and Development Mike Hartley.
Cr Perrett argued that feedlots under 499 head of cattle were not considered commercial and there was very little difference between assessing feedlots up to 49 head and 49-499 head of cattle.
But Cr Ian Petersen said he knew of feedlots under 499 head that were commercial entities.
He said the former Kilkivan Shire’s fees were lower than those proposed but the fees couldn’t possibly have covered the work to assess them and a discount must have been given.
Cr Petersen said the new fees were not designed to prohibit feedlots. Other councillors also weighed in on the discussion.
Cr Graham Engeman said council should be looking at reducing the fees for feedlots to try and encourage a greater use of agricultural land in the region.
He suggested the number of feedlots that were assessed was minimal so reducing the fees shouldn’t impact on council too much.
But Cr Jan Watt countered saying if council reduced feedlot fees to support agriculture then the fees for all other agricultural activities would need to be reduced.
Cr Larry Friske said council only discouraged feedlots near residential areas and he thought the proposed fee structure was realistic.
He said the fees covered the whole region, not just out west, and there would be a more significant cost to council to investigate the suitability of a feedlot at Wolvi than one in Kilkivan.
Cr Perrett moved to change the fee structure from the three-tiered system to two fees, one for up to 499 cattle ($2069) and one for over 499 head ($8128).
That motion was seconded by Cr Graham Engeman and carried.