Fight for fair rates
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.