Farm­ers to march

Shepparton News - Country News - - NEWS -

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.

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