The Liberal Nationals are calling for a freeze on farm rates to support farmers struggling with financial pressure caused by both the bushfires and the coronavirus pandemic.
In recent years, massive increases to farm rates in some Local Government Areas have pushed up farmers’ rates burden by tens of thousands of dollars.
Councils are currently reviewing their budgets to allow for the changed economic conditions caused by these serious and unprecedented challenges.
A freeze on farm rates this financial year would provide our producers certainty as they work to keep our supermarket shelves fully stocked.
This rate relief measure is supported by the Victorian Farmers Federation.
This is in addition to the Liberal Nationals’ call for all councils to consider a complete rate freeze this financial year to help all Victorians.
But the State Government must help councils with any loss of revenue so that the important role of councils can continue uninterrupted during these difficult times.
Comment attributable to Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Bushfire Recovery, Peter Walsh:
After dealing with the impact of catastrophic bushfires, years of drought and now the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic our farmers need some certainty.
A freeze on farm rates for this financial year makes sense and will be a welcome relief at a time when it’s desperately needed.
Comment attributable to Shadow Minister for Local Government, Tim Smith:
There are going to be many councils where people literally can’t pay their rates, and we need to lessen this burden.
The State Government must come to the party and support councils that are offering rate relief, and particularly councils in areas where there will be a lot of ratepayers that are going to do it very, very hard.