IPART has today issued a draft report that proposes a funding framework for the new Local Land Services (LLS) boards established by the NSW Government.

LLS boards will provide advice on production for farm businesses, biosecurity including plant and animal health, pest control, natural resource management and emergency response. The organisation will operate from January 2014.

IPART Chairman Dr Peter Boxall said NSW was highly dependent on a successful rural sector and a funding framework was required to support the services that protect this.

“Rather than setting prices, IPART has outlined principles by which LLS boards should fund services that maintain healthy animals and plants and protect the environment,” Dr Boxall said.

“Through a series of workshops and industry representations, we have listened to farmers, the various primary producers and rural landholders to understand the issues.”

“There are three key principles we are proposing that we believe will address the concerns we heard and ensure these vital services are properly funded.”

They are:

  • Government agencies and primary producers should be treated equally in terms of cost recovery where they create risks or receive benefits.
  • Smaller landholdings of between 2ha and 10ha should now be included as it is recognised their activities involve significant biosecurity hazards – this would bring around 110,000 additional landholdings into the system to share the costs of funding services.
  • In general, rates should be levied based on land size, not notional stock-carrying capacity – this means horticulturalists are not being levied for stock related activity. For specific levies like the animal health levy, notional stock carrying capacity would still apply.

“We have recommended an approach for assessing who pays that seeks to put the greatest onus on those who are creating an impact or hazard to pay fees for LLS board services,” Dr Boxall said.

“Some general charges would apply to everyone who benefits from the work of the LLS board and some services that are not easily priced should still be paid for by taxpayers as a last resort.”

Stakeholders are invited to respond to this paper via the IPART website by 15 October 2013. IPART will hold a public roundtable in October with interested stakeholders to work through specific issues. A final report to the NSW Government will be submitted by the end of November 2013.

The draft report, Review of the funding framework for Local Land Services NSW, is available on IPART’s website http://www.ipart.nsw.gov.au.

Media Contact Sophie Travers 0419 609 236