Victorian farmers have decided to march on Melbourne calling for action to fix the skyrocketing cost of council rates impacting farm businesses across rural Victoria.
At the Victorian Farmers Federation Annual Conference held in Ballarat, farmers unanimously voted to take urgent action as State and Local Governments fail to address the rates inequity.
“In some shires, we have seen farmland rates rise by over 20 per cent while many town rates have not increased beyond 2.25 per cent,” said Mr David Jochinke, Victorian Farmers Federation President. “This is not sustainable for any business.”
“Our farmers want to contribute to their local community but the current system of calculating rates is broken,” he said. “Local Governments must implement a fair rates system and our State Government must fund Local Government to support the delivery of critical services.
“We cannot allow Victoria’s food producers to be rated out of existence.
“Victorian farmers are really starting to question why they are facing such significant rate hikes, while at the same time, they still cannot access the services that their city cousins enjoy every day.
“Our roads in rural Victoria are not fit-for-purpose, many farmers still cannot access reliable telephone and internet access, and many are travelling long distances for critical health care.
“We are 17 weeks away from the Victorian State Election; farmers and their communities are looking for action.
“Over the past months, hundreds of farmers have attended council meetings across the state to protest these ridiculous rate hikes,” he said. “These farmers will come to Melbourne if their voices are not heard.
“We have decided enough is enough.
“Farmers, like all businesses, need certainty to operate so we are putting all election candidates on notice,” he said. “They need to prove to us they will deliver for agriculture before the election” said Mr Jochinke.