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Farmers stunned by rate increase

For three generations the Clinton family have been farming in the Camden and Wollondilly areas, but with the recent land valuations and a significant increase in rates, they are asking if they can sustain it without a more equitable rating system.

Neville Clinton and his son Josh run the Australian White Sheep Stud at The Oaks on 360 acres with 500 animals; they recently received their rates notice which saw a 27.5 per cent hike equating to almost $8000 for the year. They know they aren’t the only farmers experiencing increased rates and are wondering if it is now the time the council and the community have to make a choice.

“You have a municipality like Wollondilly shire, saying that we want this to be rural community; but they are doing nothing to assist the generational farmers,” Neville Clinton said.

“We consider ourselves generational farmers. There are lots of them in the area, because it is a very old area.

“When they can mandate a rate rise of 27.5 per cent and when the economic situation is so dire, we have been through a three year drought, we have had fires, we have had floods and most people are in debt to try and keep their stock to a level where they can maintain a business, it will take years to replace that stock and then they impose this sort of rate rise without any consideration of all those factors.”

The higher rates are a result of the increase in land values in Wollondilly.

Mr Clinton and his son Josh also put that down to speculator farms. Farmland bought for high prices by investors hoping the land is eventually rezoned for subdivision – more often than not these large parcels of land are left vacant with little or no maintenance – but are a contributing factor to increased land values and rates

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