What’s the price for safer food, clean premises?

Terri Anne Moore is asking MidCoast Council to advise business owners in advance of increases to fees and charges.

The Tuncurry small business owner was shocked when she learned this year’s food premises annual administration fee had increased from $265 to $310, while the six monthly inspection fee had risen from $114 to $140.

A take-away food shop primarily for tradies, Terri Anne took over the business three years ago when the annual administration free was $150.

“Small business owners should know when fees are going up,” she said.

Small business owners should know when fees are going up,

Terri Anne Moore

Terri Anne believed the fees and charges were far too high for the majority of small businesses.

“I think it is totally unfair.

“No wonder little shops are struggling.”

Council’s fees and charges come on top of water rates, power, wages and stock purchases, she said.

“There is no knowledge of what they are doing; they just smack us with a bill.”

MidCoast Council waste health and regulatory services manager, John Cavanagh said fees and charges were reviewed early in the year, adopted by council and put on exhibition – generally for 28 days – before being finalised for July 1.

Mr Cavanagh said the fees were advertised in the regular council block advertisements in local newspapers.

He said fees and charges across the MidCoast Council area (Gloucester, Greater Taree and Great Lakes) were now aligned.

“We are obliged by the NSW Food Authority to inspect all food premises,” he said.

“It is all about public health.”

He explained fees were based on costs associated with running the program.

Council has two inspectors based in Taree and Forster.