Strong leadership needed from councils to share the rates burden
Across Victoria farmers are taking action against the unfair rates burden on farmland. This afternoon farmers will gather at the Mildura Rural Shire Council offices to protest the proposed rates increase of 22.87% for farmland.
“We encourage all Mildura ratepayers to join us today in Mildura at the Deakin Avenue Service Centre from 4.30pm onwards to peacefully protest the proposed unfair rates increase for farmland” said David Jochinke, Victorian Farmers Federation President.
In partnership with local farmers, the Victorian Farmers Federation has held meetings and rallies in Kalkee and Ouyen to discuss the challenges with sustainable funding of rural councils and to protest the increasing rates burden on farmers across many councils.
“We want to work with councils across Victoria to promote a balanced rating strategy that shares the burden between all rating categories. Northern Grampians Council has shown leadership this week by adopting a budget that balances the rates increase between residential, farm and business to 2.25%. We hope other councils follow their lead.
“From the start, Yarriambiack Shire Council has strived to fairly share the rates burden by setting a standard 2.25% rates increase across all categories. Bullock Shire is also actively managing the differential to balance the burden. We now look to councils such as Mildura, Horsham and Pyrenees to adjust their budgets to balance the burden” said Mr Jochinke.
Capping rates increases to 2.25% for each category is necessary to fairly share the rates burden. However, the Victorian Farmers Federation acknowledges that it is not a long-term solution to funding rural councils.
“There is a lot more work to be done to create a sustainable funding framework for rural councils that addresses the broken rating system and the clear inequities between urban and rural councils. But while we work on those long-term solutions, we cannot expect farmers to shoulder the rates burden” said Mr Jochinke.
David Jochinke, President, Victorian Farmers Federation, 0427 834 524
Heather Smillie, Stakeholder Policy & Advocacy Officer, 0400 874 589