WA pastoralists brace for rent increase

WA pastoralists brace for rent increase


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p Pastoral lease rents are set to rise from July 1, 2019, which will affect the majority of pastoralists, especially in the Kimberley, as their property and livestock value increases.

p Pastoral lease rents are set to rise from July 1, 2019, which will affect the majority of pastoralists, especially in the Kimberley, as their property and livestock value increases.

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The government has committed to review the process of pastoral lease rent determinations after the majority of pastoralists in WA were informed that they will be facing an increase from July 1.

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THE State government has committed to review the process of pastoral lease rent determinations after the majority of pastoralists in WA were informed that they will be facing an increase from July 1.

This is after the Valuer-General determined the value on their leases had increased.

State Lands Minister Ben Wyatt said the State government would provide assistance to the pastoral industry by phasing in new rents for WA pastoral leases over the next three years, but the impact is bound to hurt after a dry season.

Mr Wyatt said the Valuer-General had the statutory authority to set the rents for pastoral leases independently of the minister.

"This is an imperfect process which has been inherited but one that I am reviewing," Mr Wyatt said.

"Unfortunately, my influence over this issue is limited.

"I understand the challenges pastoralists in many parts of the State face, particularly with changing seasonal conditions and am frustrated that the legislated process that determines rent every five years means that those operating pastoral leases are given little notice about the rent increases.

"That is why the State government has acted quickly to ensure that new rents are phased in over a period of three years, with the first two years capping the increases to just 20 per cent of the existing rental rates.

"The rental phase-in will help pastoralists plan for the financial impact of a rent increase on their enterprise."

Mr Wyatt said while the rent for some pastoral leases would rise as a result of this year's review, the main financial impact is expected to be in the State's north.

"This reflects strong land values over the past three to five years and indicates that there is a growing level of demand for WA's cattle locally and internationally and a big future for the pastoral industry," he said.

"In other parts of the State, such as the Southern Rangelands, there will be little or no change.

"The State government is committed to ensuring the long-term economic, environmental and social sustainability of Western Australia's pastoral lands estate."

WA's pastoral rents are independently determined every five years by the Valuer-General in accordance with the Land Administration Act 1997.

Rent determinations are based on current land values and the economic state of the pastoral industry.

The Valuer-General has determined that most pastoralists in the State's north will incur a rent increase while pastoralists in other areas of the State will experience moderate or no increase and in some cases a rent reduction.

Increases will be capped at 20pc in 2019-20 and 2020-21, with the balance applied in 2021-22.

Mr Wyatt said revenue from the increased rents will be used to assist in delivering better economic, social and environmental outcomes on WA's pastoral estate.

The Pastoral Lands Board is also working closely with the departments of Planning, Lands and Heritage and Primary Industries and Regional Development, to identify properties which may require additional support and advice to better manage livestock and business decisions.

Pastoralists and Graziers Association president Tony Seabrook said in the past there had been "screams from pastoralists" due to the rental increases - some of which increased by more than double what they were".

"In 2009 they went up but rents dropped in some areas afterwards," Mr Seabrook said.

"As an association we will look at the third year of increases and what kind of impact that will have, but some areas will see a decrease or a zero rate."

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