Mixed reaction to LLS boundaries

There has been a mixed reaction to the boundaries of the 11 new regions drawn up under the new Local Land Services (LLS) structure.

The Monaro will be part of the south east region which incorporates the southern tablelands and the south coast.

Snowy River Shire Council mayor and farmer John Cahill is not happy with the new boundaries and said the south east region is far too big.

"The south east region boundaries go against SEROC (South East Regional Organisations of Councils) recommendations," Mayor Cahill said.

"At the SEROC meeting the boundaries were drawn up to take in all the tablelands from the south to Young and excluded Eurobodalla and the coastal LGAs [Local Government Areas].

"Boundaries were recommended along existing LGA divisions.

"Eurobodalla and coastal LGAs have industries and issues that are quite different to the tablelands.

"The tablelands will be cross-subsidising the coastal areas.

"I can't see that all those small blocks with no stock will be happy paying rates."

Monaro Farming Systems (MFS) chair Oliver Cay is more optimistic and said the new boundaries do not concern him.

"We recognise to make the changes there needs to be a big rating base," Mr Cay said.

"It's positive for the south east that we can incorporate very similar industries.

"We see there is a role for MFS in an extension role and have secured some funding through the new interim management.

"We diseminate research information to inform and improve the end user / producers already.

"We are an extension model and while DPI (Department of Primary Industries) will still do it, it won't have the resources to do it as before, because the Cooma [DPI] staff have been cut by 50 per cent."

The Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson who announced the new LLS structure two weeks ago said the new structure will improve service delivery, reduce duplications will redirect $5 million to frontline agricultural advisory and extension services each year.

"These funds will deliver extra capacity and flexibility to local boards to hire more employees, form new partnerships, or secure services from other providers," Ms Hodgkinson said.

She said the decisions are based on the ideas and expectations gathered over the last 18 months through the LLS consultation process as well as the findings of the Ryan Review of Livestock Health & Pest Authorities.

The Government accepted 21 of the 25 Stakeholder Reference Panel governance recommendations and delivered a regional boundaries map which considered two maps.

From January 2014, Local Land Services will comprise 11 regions.

"Local Land Services will be a statutory corporation which will delegate responsibility for operational management and planning functions to 11 local boards," Ms Hodgkinson said.

"Boards will be a mix of government appointments and ratepayer elected positions to address the evidence of significant weaknesses in corporate governance and accountability highlighted in the Ryan Review and reflect the vital need for Local Land Services to be accountable to ratepayers and taxpayers.

"Local Land Services will be an organisation of considerable financial capacity.

"Over a four year period the projected revenues are over $500 million so we need to ensure this organisation has the skills and expertise to set it on the right course."

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