In 2020 the VFF wrote to all Local Government Councils seeking their acknowledgement of the rating inequity faced by Victorian farmers and to ensure that councils did not implement unfair rate increases for farmers.
Despite our success with some councils not increasing rates above the state government’s rate cap of 2.5%, and a few councils actually cutting rates, a number of councils increased rates for the average farm by more than 10%. The councils include, Wellington Shire, Northern Grampians Shire, Southern Grampians Shire, Hepburn Shire and for irrigation properties in Mildura City. We are working hard to ensure similar rate increase do not happen again.
The VFF also encouraged greater representation on rural councils in light of the 2020 Local Government Elections held in October. With our support, VFF Members were successfully elected to councils including Southern Grampians, Horsham, Mansfield and Mildura.
In 2021 the VFF will continue our Fair Rates for Farmers campaign to ensure local governments set fair and equitable rate increases for farmers. Campaign updates will be posted to this page to help farming communities better interact with and follow our campaign.
How we support our members
The VFF empowers members through core actions:
- Monitor and analyse rate increases and trends across the state.
- Educate local councils about the best way to implement fairer local rating strategies.
- Support the formation of local community groups – representing farmers with a lead voice
- Generating media attention to bring the rating issue and council governance to the public.
- Lobby government for a fairer and more equitable rating system.
2021 Farm Rates Campaign
Glenelg Shire Council
In April 2021, Glenelg Shire Council released its Draft Revenue and Rating Plan setting out how the council intends to rate farmers over the next four years.
The VFF is deeply concerned by the Council’s proposal to reduce the 30% primary producer rebate to 10%.
Our indicative modelling shows the proposed change would see the average farm business paying over $10,000 more in rates. There is no proposal to implement a separate reduced farm differential rate.
The VFF is committed to working with Glenelg Shire to achieve a fairer local rating system for all ratepayers. We are encouraging all local farmers to have their say by voicing their opposition to the proposed change. Details about the proposal can be found on Council’s website here https://yoursay.glenelg.vic.gov.au/draft-revenue-and-rating-plan.
Glenelg Shire council are holding drop in session on 12 April at Heywood (Shire Offices 9.30-11.30am) and Casterton (Kelpie Centre, 1.30-3.30pm) and on 15 April at (Shire Offices, 2-4pm). We encourage all farmers to attend these sessions and have your say.
The VFF is working to meet with Glenelg Shire to directly voice community concerns and will prepare a submission objecting to the proposal. We will continue to keep VFF members informed of our progress.
The best way to campaign for fair rates is at the local level. Experience shows that when farmers work together to advocate for change locally, there is a much greater chance of success.
Farmers wanting to take action at a local level can contact the VFF Stakeholder Policy Advocacy Adviser, Charles Everist, on 0400 199 522 to discuss how the VFF can support you and your community deliver positive outcomes.