A NEW era for farmers across the Central Tablelands is set to start when the new Local Land Services organisation becomes operational from 2014.
Gone is the former Livestock Health and Pest Authority (LHPA).
Under the NSW Government changes, LHPA regions have become part of Local Land Services (LLS) as part of an amalgamation which has also absorbed the Catchment Management Authorities (CMA) and about 47 Department of Primary Industries staff.
The new LLS bodies will be responsible for agricultural production advice, biosecurity, natural resource management and emergency management.
Tablelands LHPA chairman John Seaman met with fellow board members in Bathurst last week for the final time.
Mr Seaman said that although there are three director positions to be filled for the new LLS, he believes it’s time for a change and will not apply for one of those roles.
“I don’t want to do a John Howard and hang around too long,” he said.
He said his fellow board members hope the new LLS will be a “positive thing”.
“We wish the new chair of the organisation Ian Armstrong all the best, but he is bound to have his work cut out with a change of focus being involved in catchment management.
“I do hope it’s not too big a service delivery area that it can’t give the ratepayers what they want.”
Mr Seaman said he hopes LLS continues with its animal health service because district vet Bruce Watt has done a magnificent job.
“Then there’s the basic stuff like rabbit, fox and wild dog baits that we all rely on. I hope that stays.
“Whether rates will go up under LLS remains to be seen, though. It’s always a concern looking to the future.”
Mr Seaman said LLS needs to be straight up to running speed because it will have to start talking drought very soon.
“When the high country around Edith near Oberon is struggling for water, you know things are dire.”
In the meantime, Bathurst MP Paul Toole is urging locals to get online to learn more about Local Land Services.
A new website, www.lls.nsw.gov.au, has been launched.
“This will be a critical business triage point for the state’s 11 LLS regions,” Mr Toole said.
“The easy-to-use website has been built with the customer in mind, therefore it is easy to navigate around and find local information and contacts.”
Mr Toole said the LLS website brings together the organisation’s key focus areas.
“To this end, the site is a window into the organisation and really is a single point of information for the customer,” he said.
“LLS has been built around the needs of the customer and rural and regional NSW and the website structure and content reflects this.
“For the first time, rates will be payable online, which is a significant step forward in customer service.”
He said each of the 11 LLS regions has its own page.