Phone: 6686 7522
Fax: 6686 7470
Address: PO Box 1018, Ballina, NSW, 2478
Crown Land rent rises
In a recent speech to Parliament, I condemned the NSW Government for threatening the viability of several vital community facilities located on Crown Land, including the planned Lennox Head community centre, by imposing commercially based rents.
Ballina Shire Council has been advised that in order for a planned, and very much needed, community centre at Williams Reserve at Lennox Head to go ahead, the centre must pay a commercially based rent to the NSW Government. Council is expending significant monies on building the community centre and the additional burden of paying a commercially based rent could seriously jeopardise its future.
It must be noted that the initial request for the government to acquire Williams Reserve as Crown Land in 1952 was made by the Council on behalf of the Lennox Head Progress and Ratepayers Association. The Department of Lands agreement was conditional on Council paying half the cost of the acquisition and all processing costs.
So it comes as a cruel slap in the face to Ballina Shire ratepayers that they are now being told by the NSW Government the centre must raise revenue purely to bolster the NSW Treasury, when Council paid half of the original acquisition costs of the land.
Ballina Shire Council has also received notification from the Department of Lands that the rent for the Crown Land on which the Ballina Public Library, Visitor Information Centre and Richmond Room are located will be substantially increased from the current figure of about $19,000 to $90,000 per annum a 470 per cent increase.
Following objections from the Council the Department of Lands agreed to reduce the revised rent to $45,000 per annum. This is simply not viable for the Council, which already outlays $810,000 per annum to provide these important facilities to the community.
After wasting the proceeds of 10 years of economic sunshine in NSW due to the property boom, this greedy government is now charging exorbitant rents for community facilities. This government has no regard for the importance of community facilities, their role in keeping communities together and the social benefits they provide.
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