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Imposts on meander dam farmers.

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Imposts On Meander Dam Farmers

Friday, August 05, 2005

Senator Guy Barnett today questioned the merit of Government imposts on Meander Valley farmers such as an extraordinary $72,000 “fire levy” and a $400,000 State Government stamp duty.

“I am also concerned about the lack of an Australian Tax Office ruling relevant to the investment in the dam and I have sought answers from the tax office today,” Senator Barnett said.

He said it is proposed that the dam will be rated by the Meander Valley Council at $168,000 a year. It is likely that the Meander Dam will be the first dam in Tasmania to be rated by a local council.

Senator Barnett said it was confirmed at a public meeting in Deloraine today that a one year delay to construction will add up to $5 million to the cost of the dam.

“Up to $13 million has already been added to the cost of the Meander Dam through unnecessary delays, including frivolous and vexatious appeals,” Senator Guy Barnett said.

“The undue delays have increased the cost of the dam and placed an unfair burden on Meander Valley farmers and the community. The Tasmanian Conservation Trust should be held accountable for their actions,” he said.

“In 2002 the dam was priced at approximately $22 million, but two and a half years later, following court delays and a State Government admission of a ‘passive’ approach towards the litigation, this cost has risen to $35 million,” he said.

“Frivolous and politically motivated appeals by the green lobby or anybody else should not be allowed without consequences,” Senator Barnett said.

“The campaign by the Greens and the Tasmanian Conservation Trust was little more than a marathon political campaign aimed at killing the project,” he said.

Senator Barnett said $2.1 million in Australian Government funding for the dam would be payable on commencement of substantial earthworks expected as early December this year. The balance of $500,000 would be paid when contracts for irrigation rights from the dam are signed.

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