The Nationals WA Member for Mining and Pastoral Region Jacqui Boydell has welcomed correspondence from the Minister for Lands, Hon Ben Wyatt indicating the possibility of rates and rent relief to pastoralists facing financial ruin after years of adverse conditions on the land.
Last year the Labor Government raised pastoralists’ rents by as much as 328 per cent in the Kimberley, 75 per cent in the Pilbara and 9 per cent in the Southern Rangelands.
“I am regularly in contact with pastoralists from across my electorate who tell me of the extremes of temperature, increased feral animal activity and many years of no rain,” Ms Boydell said.
“Add to this the increased rents, and in some cases large deluges from cyclones Blake and Damien, and these stations are left with extreme levels of erosion, stock losses and general damage to repair, all of which have greatly increased the pastoralists’ financial burdens.
Due to technicalities in administering the Federal drought funding, many of the worst affected areas have been deemed ineligible, compounding the problem.
“I recently wrote to the Minister for Lands Ben Wyatt, Minister for Local Government David Templeman, and Minister for Regional Development Alannah MacTiernan seeking an answer as to whether they would provide relief in the terms of a ‘rent and rates holiday’,” Ms Boydell said.
“I am pleased to report Minister Wyatt has written back to me acknowledging “that pastoralists, particularly in the Southern Rangelands, have of recent times experienced significant hardships with extended dry periods, wild dogs, and other factors that challenge pastoral lease viability.” and that in appropriate circumstances rent relief should be granted through application to the Pastoral Lands Board.
“I urge anyone who requires more information or assistance with this matter to contact my office on 9144 4187.