Goulburn resident Garry Miller is flabbergasted at a decision by the NSW Office of State Revenue to reject his application for a $7000 Regional Relocation (Home Buyers Grant).
He moved from his previous home in the suburb of Warilla, near Lake Illawarra, which technically under the NSW Local Government Areas regulations, is classified as being in the Shellharbour Local Government Area and not Wollongong LGA and therefore is not eligible.
Mr Miller, 72, recently went through a divorce settlement and is also on the pension, and feels that he deserves the $7000 amount.
He recently moved to a villa at the Warrigal Care facility in Marys Mount.
“I understood that the grant was to encourage people to move from metro areas to regional areas, and in my opinion Shellharbour can hardly be constituted as a regional area,” he said.
“It is simply a southern suburb of Wollongong. Warilla is literally located only one kilometre from the Wollongong metropolitan area for God’s sake!” He wrote to the Office of State Revenue on more than one occasion who told him that under Section 4 of the Regional Relocation (Home Buyers Grant) Act 2011, Shellharbour is not classified as being in a metropolitan area.
“Regrettably, the Chief Commissioner does not have the power to exercise discretion where an applicant is not relocating from a metropolitan area,” the letter from the department states.
For a ‘regional’ area, Shellharbour boasts a sizeable 68,000 population.
It in fact has a greater population density (4.5 people per hectare) than Wollongong City (2.8 people per hectare).
Goulburn’s is 0.09 people per hectare.
Mr Miller was given 60 days from when he lodged his letter to the Office of State Revenue on October 11, 2013.
He only received a response from the Wollongong office late last month.
“The response I received from a Mr Chris Lyon, the manager of the Wollongong office of the OSR argued that the Act clearly states that a person must move at least 100kms in a straight line from a metropolitan area to Goulburn, and Warilla is not in the metropolitan area even though it is a southern suburb of Wollongong,” Mr Miller said.
“Apparently to change the act requires an act of Parliament, for God’s sake!” The Goulburn Post, using Google Maps, estimated the straight line distance from Goulburn to Warilla to be between 90 and 100km.
Member for Goulburn Pru Goward said she has addressed Mr Miller’s concerns and issued the following statement: “Representations have been made by my office on behalf of Mr Miller to the Minister for Finance and Services regarding this matter and understand Mr Miller’s disappointment in not being eligible for the grant.
However, the Government must be consistent and transparent with the eligibility requirements of initiatives such as these.”