Producers threatened by rents

PRODUCERS are being urged to send the State Government a message about keeping leasehold land rents at "realistic levels".

AgForce CEO Robert Walker said his group had created an online survey which producers could complete to show the impact of high land rents on farm profitability.

"The majority of grazing land in Queensland is leased by landholders from the Government with farmers and graziers making annual rent payments based upon the unimproved value (UV - also known as unimproved capital value) of the property.

"In 2007, the Queensland Government raised the percentage for calculating rural rents from 0.8% of UV to 1.5%. At that time, a decision was made to cap annual rent increases to ensure they couldn't rise more than 20% in any one year. That arrangement ends in 2017 and, from then, rents have the potential to skyrocket," Mr Walker said.

Mr Walker said under the current system, leasehold land rents could increase by as much as 1100% in 20 years, in line with rises in property values.

"However, just because the land is more valuable doesn't mean a primary producer's profit will increase," Mr Walker said.

"Over the past 20 years, the pastoral zone in Queensland has seen land prices increase dramatically but that hasn't been reflected in farm incomes, as costs have risen sharply across the same period."

Mr Walker said AgForce needed hard data and the survey would help gather it.

AgForce will work with rural property and investment expert Professor Chris Eves, of the Queensland University of Technology, who is investigating the impact of rising leasehold rents on farm profitability.

To complete the survey, go to land_review.