More consultation with NRM needed

Wakefield Regional Council CEO Jason Kuchel said he would horrified at the proposed nine percent rise to the NRM Levy.
Wakefield Regional Council CEO Jason Kuchel said he would horrified at the proposed nine percent rise to the NRM Levy.

The proposed rate rise to the Natural Resources Management Levy has drawn strong criticism after the Northern and Yorke board informed councils of its decision.

Over the next three years the Division 1 Land Levy, which is imposed with council rate bills, will increase by nine percent each year, reaching a total of 27 per cent by 2021-22. 

Wakefield Regional Council chief executive officer Jason Kuchel said he would be "horrified" at projected increases in the NRM Levy.

"Just like everyone else who has to pay the levy, I would be horrified and want to know what they are proposing to achieve for that kind of money," he said.

"From council's perspective, I think we have no control over it. It doesn't mean to say we cannot lobby in regards to it.

"I will talk to the mayor about what our next steps will be, I think most of our community would be horrified at such a large increase.

"There are a lot more questions to be asked before jumping to a position. Council will consult more with the NRM Board.

"I read on the faces of a number of councillors that it was a shock to them and it was not well received."

At the October 25 Wakefield Regional Council meeting, NRM Board presiding member Eric Sommerville and regional director for natural resources Trevor Naismith told Councillors that the board had deemed the rate necessary in order to keep the business running.

Currently they operate on a budget of $2 million.

The South Australian Liberal Party has promised to make reforms to the NRM should they be elected next March.

A chapter titled Protecting Our Environment has been added to the Party’s 2036 manifesto, which states that “a major overhaul is required.”

The party will repeal the Natural Resources Management Act and will replace it with the Landscape South Australia Act, which will be introduced into Parliament in their first year of government.

A statewide survey was undertaken by the Liberal Party earlier this year which drew more than 750 responses.

The results revealed that 50 per cent believed their levies were too high and 65 per cent do not know how their levy funds are being spent.

Under the Party’s manifesto, NRM annual land and water levies will be capped at a rate set by an independent body and will commit that all levies collected in a region will be spent in that region.