Liberals to make rates fair for farmers in Polwarth’s shires

November 2, 2018

An elected Liberal Government will act to make rates fair for farmers across Victoria.

Victorian farmers are calling for answers and action after some shires imposed dramatic rate increases this year while others passed modest or even reduced farm rates.

Richard Riordan MP said significant farm rates had put an unfair burden on farmers in a year when they were already under more pressure due to adverse factors such as power prices and drying conditions.

“Farmers are calling for answer and action, and we are listening,” said Mr Riordan.

“I’ve investigated our rates in Polwarth shires compared to metropolitan rates. There is an undue rates burden on our farmers.

“A high farm rates burden is putting more pressure on farmers in a year when they’re already under pressure due to rising costs.

“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.”

The review will be led by a qualified individual, and the terms of reference will direct that the inquiry must deliver actionable recommendations that help to make rates fair for farmers across Victoria. The terms of reference will ensure comprehensive consultation with farmers and the VFF is undertaken.

The rate cap limit will be applied to all rating categories while the review is undertaken.

Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Minister for Agriculture Peter Walsh said rural communities are built around farming industries, and these industries support thousands of jobs across the state.

“Food and fibre producers are the powerhouse of Victoria’s economy, and a Liberal Nationals Government want farm businesses to keep on growing,” Mr Walsh said.

“Farming families are already under pressure from drought, rising energy and water prices, and a swag of new taxes from the Andrews Labor Government — we can’t afford for them to be rated out existence.”

Shadow Minister for Local Government David Morris said farmers had been calling for rates relief and the Liberal Nationals were listening.

“With farm rates increasing nearly 30pc in some shires, farmers are rightly asking why their rates are skyrocketing when other councils have been able to keep increases modest,” Mr Morris said.

“The Liberal Nationals are committed to easing the cost of living, and that includes fairer rates for all our farmers.”