NRM levy to increase from $4 to $5 million

Trevor Naismith and Eric Sommerville of the Northern and Yorke NRM Board.
Trevor Naismith and Eric Sommerville of the Northern and Yorke NRM Board.

Ratepayers in the Northern and Yorke region are set for an increase to the Natural Resources Management Levy according to the draft business plan for the next three years.

The Northern and Yorke NRM board has decided on an increase to the levy of nine per cent to both the Division 1 Land Levy and the Division 2 Water Levy over three years in order to keep the business running.

Federal funding to the NRM has been reduced by a minimum of 50pc and is no longer guaranteed, while state government funding is non-consistent, which left the board to come to the conclusion it needed to be independent in order to run the business.

The levy will increase from $4 million to $5 million over the next three years and will fund the programs and work set out in the Regional NRM Plan from 2018 to 2028.

Residential property owners will see an average increase of $4.93 from the 2017-18 levy to $45.93 per annum.

For 2017-18, $3.84 million has been approved for the NRM Land Levy, which will rise by $352,023 in 2018-19 according to the organisations business plan.

NRM Board presiding member Eric Sommerville and regional director for natural resources Trevor Naismith addressed last Wednesday’s Wakefield Regional Council meeting at the Phil Barry Chamber in Balaklava to inform council of the decision to raise the levy.

Wakefield Regional Council chief executive officer Jason Kuchel said hewould be "horrified" at projected increases in the Natural Resources Management Levy.

The NRM said it was committed to undertaking activities which were deemed a priority by the ratepayers of the Northern and Yorke region.

A focus has been put on the control of pests and weeds as one of the six core investment programs, with $1.5 million out of the NRM’s budget to be invested in pest plant and animal control over the next three years.

The other five core programs include Healthy Environments, Sustainable Use, awareness and capacity building, leadership and strategy, and collaboration, partnerships and Aboriginal engagement.

Mr Naismith said the NRM was doing everything in its power to stop the spreading of weeds such as Buffel Grass and Onion Weed in the region. 

Currently the NRM is in the process of creating its business and strategic plans for the next three years.

Community review of both plans closed on Monday, with the board to now make amendments based on the feedback from the public before the amended plans are submitted to the Sustainability, Environment and Conservation Minister Ian Hunter.

This is the first time in 10 years that the strategic plan has been reviewed.

The minister is expected to adopt the plans early next year.