Proposed 1,400 percent rate hike on Tasmanian salmon farming labelled “cash grab”

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West Coast Council are targeting land-based assets.

The Tasmanian Salmon Growers Association has called the West Coast Council’s proposal to increase rates on the salmon industry by 1,400 percent “a cash grab”.

Council rates on the industry’s on-land assets – such as the “mort holding facility” at the Aquaculture Hub near Strahan – were expected to jump from just a few thousand dollars a year to about AUD 70,000 (EUR 43,000) if a proposed budget was adopted at Tuesday night’s council meeting, Mayor Phil Vickers estimated, reports The Advocate.

The industry want to build a pit capable of storing up to 4,000 tonnes of dead fish in the event of a mass deaths.

TSGA Chief Executive Andrew Gregson told ABC news said: “If this cash-grab from the West Coast Council is successful, it gives licence to other council’s around Tasmania to target businesses with drastic rate increases on a whim,” he said.

The council originally wanted to charge rates for fish pens in Macquarie Harbour.

Vickers said the industry argued that the increase rates did contribute to the community.

“It’s a bit like the mining industry; we strike pretty heavy rates on the mining industry on the basis it’s their contribution to the community,” he said.

“My view is we’re not doing it simply to be nasty. We’re doing it for a host of reasons, not the least of which is if you look at the gross income of the industry out of Macquarie Harbour versus what they put back into the community, I don’t think we’re being unreasonable.”