NSW Nationals Member for Lismore Thomas George is joining NSW Nationals Leader Andrew Stoner and Shadow Minister for Industry Duncan Gay in calling on the Rees Labor Government to place an immediate moratorium on all Livestock Health and Pest Authority (LH&PA) rates and change the $14 million locust levy from a loan into a grant.

The NSW Liberals/Nationals today launched a petition calling for an immediate moratorium to be put on current LH&PA rates until they are re-issued on a fairer basis and capped within the inflation rate.

“Landholders across the Lismore electorate have been hit with stark increase in their stock rates bills this year, on top of the pest insect levy,” said Mr George.

“This is completely unacceptable from the Rees Labor Government that said the restructure was not likely to mean an increase in rates to our farmers.”

Mr George called on Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald to adopt the NSW Liberals/Nationals’ calls for a fairer rates system.

“Our petition is calling on the Government to cap rates at the CPI level and for individual invoices to have a variance of no more than 10 per cent,” said Mr George

“We also believe farmers should not have to pay back the $14 million locust eradication loan and that the Government should turn this into a grant.

“Locust eradication should be treated as a natural disaster. The cost should not come back to farmers.”

Mr George urged the State Labor Government to immediately act on the issues raised in the petition.

“We will continue to put pressure on NSW Labor to ensure there are no additional and unnecessary costs passed onto our farmers and that they receive the services they deserve under the new LH&PA,” said Mr George.

Copies of the petition are available from Mr George’s office at 55 Carrington Street, Lismore or by ringing 6621 3624.