Fight for fair rates

Shepparton News - Country News - - EUROA SHOW 2018 -

A Coali­tion gov­ern­ment will take ac­tion to make mu­nic­i­pal rates fair for farm­ers across Vic­to­ria.

Lib­eral can­di­date for Shep­par­ton at the Novem­ber 24 state elec­tion, Ch­eryl Ham­mer, said Vic­to­rian farm­ers were call­ing for an­swers and ac­tion af­ter some coun­cils, in­clud­ing City of Greater Shep­par­ton, im­posed dra­matic rate in­creases this year, while oth­ers passed mod­est or even re­duced farm rates.

Ms Ham­mer said sig­nif­i­cant farm rates in­creases in City of Greater Shep­par­ton had put an un­fair bur­den on farm­ers in a year when they were al­ready un­der more pres­sure due to dry con­di­tions.

‘‘Farm­ers are call­ing for an­swers and ac­tion, and we are lis­ten­ing. I’ve been told many sto­ries of farm rates up by be­tween 20 and 50 per cent in the dis­trict, putting farm­ers un­der enor­mous fi­nan­cial stress,’’ she said.

‘‘Shadow Min­is­ter for Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment David Mor­ris vis­ited the re­gion a cou­ple of months ago at my in­vi­ta­tion to hear how the in­creases in rates were im­pact­ing on farm­ers in the Dookie dis­trict.

‘‘Our farm­ers and agri­cul­ture busi­nesses and in­dus­try are the back­bone of our lo­cal econ­omy, that’s why we’ll pri­ori­tise an in­de­pen­dent in­quiry into farm rates in Vic­to­ria if we’re elected to gov­ern­ment in Novem­ber.’’

Ms Ham­mer said the re­view would be led by a qual­i­fied in­di­vid­ual, and the terms of ref­er­ence would di­rect the in­quiry to de­liver ac­tion­able rec­om­men­da­tions that help to make rates fair for farm­ers across Vic­to­ria.

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