Council slams government cost-shifting

LIVERPOOL Plains Shire Council has slammed the O'Farrell government over changes to animal registration provisions that it expects to amount to yet more "insidious" cost-shifting.

The state government has announced that from tomorrow cat and dog registration fees for pets will increase substantially.

The registration fees for de-sexed cats and dogs will rise from $40 to $49, while owners of non-de-sexed animals will pay $182 - up from $150.

Pensioners will have to pay $19 to register their de-sexed pets - an increase of $4 - and inspections of restricted and dangerous dog enclosures will rise from $100 to $150.

Councillor Col Stewart, the chairman of LPSC's environmental services committee, said the government proposed a new grants scheme to help councils manage their companion animal responsibilities.

However, he said he was concerned to learn that councils would be stripped of 5 per cent of revenue received from registration fees for the next three years to pay for the new programme.

"Individual pet owners will obviously pay more, but it is rather difficult at this stage to work out if added responsibilities placed on council will in fact cost all ratepayers more at the end of the day," he said.

"LPSC has carried out a lot of public consultation in recent months and is aware that a section of the community are against any increases for anything, even to simply maintain the level of services we currently enjoy and to invest in our road network."

Cr Stewart encouraged anyone with an objection over the price hikes to contact Upper Hunter MP George Souris or Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson and express their opposition.

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