Green thumbs not happy with fees

ARRAN MORTONSound Telegraph
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New State Government quarantine charges added to the importation of seeds into WA are an added burden for gardeners, according to Rockingham and Districts Garden Club president Debbie Crane.

From July 1, commercial importers of seeds, including Rockingham and Kwinana nurseries, have been obliged to pay a $56 charge on packets of seeds which may cost as little as $3.50, a tariff Mrs Crane described as just “ludicrous”.

“I really feel for small nursery owners — they used to be able to get hold of specialist seed that local gardeners wanted from over east, but they just aren’t going to be able to do it anymore,” she said.

“The cost of postage is generally increasing every year and this is just an extra burden for retailers and for gardeners.

“Charge is really just another word for tax — we are the only State in Australia to be hit with this and it isn’t fair to penalise us just because we live in the west.”

Mrs Crane said fees amounted to an “astronomical” mark up in costs for Rockingham residential gardeners, many of whom were retired.

“It doesn’t affect the bigger gardening companies, it makes a huge difference to the smaller ones and to the individual though and it’s not fair when many people want to grow their own vegetables to try to live a more sustainable lifestyle,” she said.

Garden club member Sunny Miller said the State Government contributed about $6 million per year to support community garden projects, similar to the one at Rockingham’s Hillman Hall, but new charges would bring in about $14 million in revenue for the Government.

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