An elected Liberal National government will take action to ensure council rates for farmers across Victoria are fair.
This year farmers in the Glenelg Shire had a rate increase of 10.5 per cent and many other councils across the state are increasing rates for agricultural land well above the 2.5 per cent rate cap the state government claims is giving ratepayers a fair go.
Farmers are calling for answer and action, and we are listening. A Liberal Nationals government will prioritise an independent inquiry into farm rates in Victoria.
It 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.
Member for South West Coast Roma Britnell said the significant rate increases had put an unfair burden on farmers in a year when they were already under pressure due to poor markets and minimal profits in industries like dairy.
“An increase in land values has been blamed for the rise in the Glenelg Shire on the back of the booming timber industry, but market prices for other agricultural land is not reflective of that valuation increase,” Mrs Britnell said.
“Daniel Andrews has put in place a policy which is focused on keeping people in the city happy, while our farmers are left out in the cold with huge increases to council rates.
“The Liberal Nationals are committed to easing the cost of living across the state and that includes fairer rates for our farmers.”
Mrs Britnell said the south-west was the state’s largest agricultural production region in the state and second largest in the country and needed to be support.
“Only the Liberal Nationals have a plan to boost agriculture and provide the supports farmers need to help grow and expand their businesses.” She said.