Premier Daniel Andrews has been asked to provide immediate council rate relief for eastern Victorian farmers.
In a letter sent last week, Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, suggested to the Premier that council rate subsidies would provide some immediate financial relief and was an obvious next step.
He told the Premier that at a series of on-farm forums he convened late last year, while many had different requests (ranging from subsides for freight, water-carting, super for when it rains and power for additional pump use), almost all unanimously agreed that the one subsidy that would assist all and could be equitably provided, was council rate relief.
It was on this basis the Coalition committed to rate relief pre-election.
“The view was, savings in rates could be invested into each farmer's area of need, or if they had no specific need (other than financial hardship) it would simply provide some badly needed financial relief in this difficult period,” Mr Bull said.
Mr Bull, who sent a separate but similar request to Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes, also urged Premier Andrews to visit the area and meet with impacted farmers to get a first-hand understanding of the devastation caused by dry conditions.
“Last year the previous Agriculture Minister, Jaala Pulford, when pushed on the issue pre-election, pointed out that rates were not due until February and a decision on them would need to be made ‘in the New Year’.
“Well, that time has now arrived,” Mr Bull said.
“The situation since the election has worsened considerably in many areas and with rates due imminently, farmers and their families need to know rate relief will be provided.”
“Our farmers need assistance with fixed recurrent costs and the overwhelming feedback and my strong view is that council rates is the fairest form of relief.
“They are due imminently, it would provide some immediate financial relief and hopefully free up some capital for various on farm needs,” Mr Bull said.
Caption: Gippsland East Nationals MP Tim Bull, pictured speaking with Shadow Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh and farmers at a forum he hosted last year, has written to Premier Daniel Andrews and new Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes, urging them to implement a rates subsidy for farmers.
Monday, January 21, 2019