Farmers to march
Farmers fed up with skyrocketing council costs have voted to march on Victorian parliament in an effort to have their voices heard ahead of the state election.
Voting at the VFF’s annual conference in Ballarat on July 20, farmers unanimously voted to take urgent action due to what they say is a failure by state and local governments to address the rates inequity.
‘‘In some shires, we have seen farmland rates rise by over 20 per cent while many town rates have not increased beyond 2.25 per cent,’’ VFF president David Jochinke said. ‘‘This is not sustainable for any business. ‘‘We cannot allow Victoria’s food producers to be rated out of existence.’’
Mr Jochinke said farmers were questioning why they were facing such significant rate hikes yet still could not access the services city-based populations enjoyed every day.
‘‘Our roads in rural Victoria are not fit-for-purpose, many farmers still cannot access reliable telephone and internet access, and many are travelling long distances for critical health care,’’ he said.
With less than 16 weeks until the Victorian election, Mr Jochinke said farmers were determined to have their voices heard before the election on November 24.