VFF wants a rate mora­to­rium

Shepparton News - Country News - - NEWS -

Coun­cil rates are be­com­ing a key elec­tion bat­tle ground, with the VFF de­mand­ing a mora­to­rium on fu­ture rate in­creases un­til the rat­ings sys­tem can be de­mol­ished and re­built.

The moves comes as the body hosted a num­ber of ru­ral and re­gional MPs in Mel­bourne last week mark­ing the fi­nal sit­ting week of State Par­lia­ment.

Rates have been a hot topic re­cently, with a group of farm­ers from the City of Greater Shep­par­ton voic­ing their frus­tra­tion at a meet­ing with Lib­eral can­di­date for Shep­par­ton Cheryl Ham­mer and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Shadow Min­is­ter David Mor­ris ear­lier this month.

The farm­ers have seen red at their re­cent Greater Shep­par­ton City Coun­cil rates no­tices, which have seen sig­nif­i­cant jumps as a re­sult of ris­ing farm val­ues de­spite rate cap­ping.

Rate cap­ping, which was in­tro­duced in 2016, en­sures Vic­to­rian coun­cils can­not in­crease their to­tal rev­enue re­ceived through rates by more than 2.25 per cent for the cur­rent fi­nan­cial year.

But VFF pres­i­dent David Jochinke said the VFF was con­tin­u­ing to re­ceive re­ports of an­nual rate in­creases ex­ceed­ing 40 per cent for some farm­ers. ‘‘Enough is enough,’’ he said. ‘‘It is dif­fi­cult to think of any small or large busi­ness that could re­main vi­able in the face of 20 to 40 per cent hikes to such a sig­nif­i­cant fixed cost each year.

‘‘Com­pound­ing this, the chal­lenges of drought and dif­fi­cult sea­sonal con­di­tions fac­ing many farm­ers are mak­ing the sig­nif­i­cant in­creases even harder to ab­sorb.’’

La­belling the rates sys­tem ‘‘com­pletely bro­ken’’, Mr Jochinke en­cour­aged farm­ers with con­cerns re­gard­ing their rates bill to con­test their val­u­a­tion with coun­cils.

‘‘While many of these rate in­creases on their own are un­sus­tain­able, there is also the ques­tion of value,’’ he said.

‘‘As farm­ers con­tinue re­ceiv­ing ex­ces­sive rates no­tices, they are right­fully ques­tion­ing the lev­els of ser­vice they re­ceive, with poorly main­tained roads, road­side veg­e­ta­tion and in­ad­e­quate drainage among the most com­mon com­plaints.

‘‘This sort of thing just wouldn’t fly in the city.’’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.