Rates rebel sticks to guns
SELF-described "rebel" Jim Child has dug his toes in, refusing to pay overdue rates to the Clarence Valley Council until it "fulfils its obligations" and does some work on the road to his Kangaroo Creek property.
Mr Child hasn't paid his rates for two years and has been ordered by the court to pay, but he claims to have been denied natural justice because the matter was heard in Sydney and he was unable to get there.
He said that at close to 80 years of age he was too old to drive to and around Sydney and could not afford travel and accommodation costs if he got there by plane or train.
Nor could he afford to have a legal representative in Sydney.
"I haven't been able to put my side of the story," he said.
"It is not fair for it (the court hearing) to be held in Kogarah. I have been denied procedural fairness.
"The two parties are both based in the Clarence Valley. If there was any procedural fairness it would have been held in Grafton. I have not been allowed to present my case.
"Why should I have to go there when the law says we can have it here?"
Clarence Valley Council deputy general manager Rob Donges said it was the second time the council had taken Mr Childs to court to recover unpaid rates.
In the first, the council met his request to have the case heard in Grafton and paid for the council's solicitor to come to Grafton, only for the magistrate to rule against Mr Childs after only a few minutes.
He said the council did not want to put ratepayers to the same expense when it expected the result would be the same.
"No material facts are different," he said.