The Weekly Advertiser

Ratepayers urged to unite at VFF Kalkee rally

Victorian Farmers Federation president David Jochinke

Victorian Farmers Federation president David Jochinke

By SARAH SCULLY
Victorian Farmers Federation president David Jochinke has urged Wimmera-Mallee primary producers to provide a strong show of support against ‘unfair’ council rate distribution at a rally on Friday.
Mr Jochinke, who farms at Murra Warra north of Horsham, said he hoped attendance at the meeting – at Kalkee Recreation Reserve at 5pm – would reach triple figures.
“This meeting is for all ratepayers, particularly farmers concerned about their rates,” he said.
“The focus will be on Horsham Rural City but the meeting will also be discussing circumstances involving Yarriambiack, Hindmarsh and Northern Grampians councils.
“To get up to three figures in attendance would be really good. We just want it to be a show of strength that we believe the current proposed budgets are unfair. We’re not asking for a reduction on what farmers paid last year as a category – we’re asking for a fair increase for all categories or a better rates system.”
The region’s councils apply a different ‘rate in the dollar’ to residential, commercial, industrial and farm land.
Horsham Rural City Council’s draft rating strategy for 2018-19 has the farm rate differential at 80 percent of the general rate.
Councillors will debate increasing the differential to 70 percent at a meeting on Monday night.
In Ararat, the proposed farm rate is 55 percent of the general rate, while Northern Grampians provides farm properties with a 35 percent concession on the general rate.
The VFF believes current rates applied to farm land are unfair.
Mr Jochinke will use the meeting to explain why, what the VFF has been doing about it and what farmers can do.
Ararat district farmer Sam King will speak about his experience on an Ararat Rural City Rating Strategy Advisory Group and the various rating strategies involved.
The advisory group formed following a recommendation from a Commission of Inquiry into the Ararat council, which the State Government appointed to consider the efficiency and effectiveness of the council’s rating strategy.
The government’s intervention followed a request from then mayor Paul Hooper and the VFF after the council’s draft budget proposed to end all differential rates in the rural city.
“Northern Grampians Shire council leaders will also make a presentation about land valuations and how that leads to the current situation,” Mr Jockinke said.
Four councils
He said the VFF had invited mayors from four councils to present their rating strategies.
“We’re also having this meeting because we’ve been hearing from some councillors that until more farmers make a noise, they won’t address the imbalance,” he said.
“There will be petitions for individual councils to ask councillors not to adopt current budgets without considering the rate inequality.”
VFF Wimmera branch president Daniel Keam will chair the meeting.
“We encourage any farmers concerned about their rates to come along to show support,” Mr Jochinke said.
“We hope the meeting raises understanding within the councils of the need to adjust differentials to ensure equity in rates.”

The entire June 20, 2018 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

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Posted on Jun 20 2018

Posted by on Jun 20 2018. Filed under Agriculture, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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