Relief refused

Relief refused

Premier Daniel Andrews has refused to commit to providing rate relief to East Gippsland farmers on the first parliamentary sitting day of 2019.

The Premier was asked by Nationals Leader, Peter Walsh, if he would commit to providing rate relief to drought-stricken farmers in northern Victoria and Gippsland.

This followed a written request by Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, to both the Minister for Agriculture and the Premier two weeks ago.

“In response to the question, the Premier would only say ‘we may well do more’ and stated he was happy to discuss further measures, but at this stage that is not good enough,” Mr Bull said.

“Rate relief (where government would pay part or all of shire farm rates in drought-impacted areas) has been on the agenda since pre-Christmas.

“Rates are now due and there is not time for another talkfest. If it’s going to be done it needs to be done now.”

Mr Bull said council rate relief provided by the government would not leave councils any worse off, would put funds back into farmers’ pockets to spend in their area of need and would also provide a boost to the local economy.

“In times of drought, small businesses also suffer as people on the land tighten the belt,” Mr Bull said.

“This would allow farmers to spend more locally in their area of need and support the business sector in drought impacted areas.”