AGRICULTURAL lobbyists have endorsed Corangamite Shire’s plan to lower rates for farmers in the municipality over the next five years.
Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) president Peter Tuohey offered his congratulations to the shire, which has proposed in its draft rating strategy to gradually lower what its farmer ratepayers contribute, from 95 to 90 per cent of the general rate.
Mr Tuohey said he was pleased to see municipalities recognising the imbalance regarding how much farmers provide to council coffers compared to town-based householders and ratepayers with smaller landholdings.
“I think that’s fantastic news and hopefully other shires follow Corangamite’s example,” the VFF president said.
“Some of the more rural shires understand the importance of having a farm rate. Disappointingly, a lot of the regional centres which rely on agriculture are lagging behind on this issue even though setting up a farm rate would have less of an impact on their bottom line than shires that cover large regional areas like Corangamite.”
Corangamite Shire mayor Chris O’Connor unveiled the plan last week, explaining the farm rate would be lowered by one per cent per annum until the end of the decade, when it would settle at 90 per cent.
More than 60 per cent of the rate-based income in the Corangamite Shire comes from primary producers but farm-based residents make up only 22 per cent of all ratepayers.
Mr Tuohey said the financial-population imbalance was a common problem across most regional shires.
Corangamite Shire’s draft rating strategy remains open for comment until May 20.