PROTECTED TREES: Glen Crimmins, of Spring Creek, surrounded by trees on his farm that he cant clear.
PROTECTED TREES: Glen Crimmins, of Spring Creek, surrounded by trees on his farm that he cant clear. ALI KUCHEL

Backyard declared forest has landholder outraged

SPRING Creek resident Glen Crimmins wants his land to be rezoned and his rates reduced to match others in the region - he believes his block is currently "useless to us” and the "unfair” rates are "ridiculous”.

Mr Crimmins, who has lived on the 40-acre property on Krugers Rd for 30 years, said more than half of his property has been deemed forest or vegetation, and he can't do anything with it, and he was paying higher rates than other farmers in the Lockyer Valley.

He said he has spoken with local council and the State Department and not found a solution.

"I've got no problem paying the rates but I object when I pay higher than what a farm does on the same value of land. And I can't be a farmer because I'm not allowed to because of the trees,” he said.

A farmer on a property of the same value - about $200,000 - pays $800 for half-yearly rates, he said, while he pays $1100.

"I pay more than them ... it doesn't make sense. And 50 per cent of my block can't be touched because of what state government and council says, but I've always paid rates. I'm paying rates on a private forest.”

Mr Crimmins, who has two cattle and a calf, said he is concerned the zoning of his land will also affect the value of the property.

"Nobody wants to buy it when something has been put over the top of it - the value is next to worthless,” he said.

"I would like to see the ban on the trees lifted. It doesn't matter who you talk to, it devalues your property.”

Glenn Cummins, of Spring Creek, surrounded by trees on his farm that he cant clear.
Glen Crimmins, of Spring Creek, surrounded by trees on his farm that he cant clear. ALI KUCHEL

Member for Lockyer Jim McDonald has known Mr Crimmins and his family for a long time.

"And I have met him recently about this problem. I have encouraged Mr Crimmins to make representation to appeal the current mapping overlay of protection of a koala habitat which is restricting the use of the property,” Mr McDonald said.

"Mr Crimmins assures me the vegetation is not koala habitat, which is catered for in the nearby State Forest.

"I will continue to assist Mr Crimmins and his family but understand that the reduction in koala habitat of any size is not a desirable outcome.”

Mr McDonald said Mr Crimmins and others in the community have increases in the valuation of their properties, which directly affects the rates set by local government.

"I know the Lockyer Valley Regional Council is working to absorb these increases,” he said.

Lockyer Valley Regional Council finance portfolio councillor Chris Wilson said there is nothing council can do to help with cheaper rates or a change in zoning.

"A number of council staff and elected representatives have met with Mr Crimmins on numerous occasions and we have looked at his case in depth but unfortunately, we simply can't offer him a different rate model,” he said.

"The reality is that Mr Crimmins pays the same amount of rates as neighbouring properties and other properties throughout the Lockyer Valley in the same rating category.

"In relation to the zoning on his property, that is a State Government overlay so any change in zoning would require approval from the State Government,” Cr Wilson said