Appeal your rates bill
FIVE per cent of the population are paying 92 per cent of the $699,000 rate increase in Horsham Rural City.
How is this possible? With a rating system, a wealth tax, that was designed in the 1600s. The rating system is out-of-date and unfair.
Rural ratepayers are having to deal with rate increases of up to 37 per cent, or $7000, north of Horsham; in the west it’s up to 40 per cent or $6000; and in the east up to 20 per cent, or $2000.
These increases are not in the hundreds, but in the thousands – another cost that landholders have to budget for.
Now don’t get me wrong and start labelling me as another ‘whinging farmer’.
Every one of these landholders is happy to pay their fair share of rates.
Horsham is more than the major township in Horsham Rural City – it is also the regional hub, catering not only for its own ratepayers but also the surrounding municipalities. This can cause outside pressure on the council’s budget. But to only target one sector of the rate-paying base – is that fair and reasonable?
Locally we have seen the Northern Grampians, Buloke, Yarriambiack, Hindmarsh and West Wimmera councils take measures to ease the rate burden off rural ratepayers in each of their municipalities.
We applaud them.
Unfortunately one council has refused to revisit their budget and see if they could lower the burden on rural ratepayers.
So how do we – and when I say ‘we’ I mean the VFF, local councils and all residents – find a fairer and more amicable system that sees all ratepayers share the rate burden?
The VFF has made this an issue for the upcoming state election making it clearly known where the VFF and president David Jockinke stand on the issue.
The rating system is broken and we need a new and fairer system. We need to lobby our state Members of Parliament, the state government and Local Government Minister Marlene Kairouz.
Most importantly you can appeal against your rates. On the back of all rates notices there is a section that gives you information on how to appeal your rates. Don’t suffer an unjust rate increase – appeal!
An army is only as good as its cooks. If the soldiers don’t have full bellies, it will end in revolution.
Daniel Keam, president Wimmera branch, Victorian Farmers Federation
Promoting child safety
NATIONAL Child Protection Week runs in Australia next week and encourages us to promote safety for children in our communities.
The sad reality I have come to realise is that many young people who are abused believe that this behaviour is normal. Adults in our community are letting our young people down.
Reports of child abuse are overwhelming and give witness to the lack of accountability for adults who abuse young people.
Courts are far too lenient on people who abuse our children; communities are looking the other way, ignoring the abuse of children because this is the easiest option.
People don’t want to get involved in notifying assaults on our young people because of the fear of the consequences from the perpetrators. We have lost the ability for adults to serve as collective parents for all the young people in our neighbourhood.
Child abuse goes beyond the tears and pain experienced in childhood. Victims endure a lifetime of psychological and emotional distress, they often become drug users to kill the pain of abuse, attempt suicide, self-mutilate and have major trust issues.
We, as a society, must ensure that we provide our children with a safe and supportive environment, so that they have the opportunity to reach their full potential.
Father Chris Riley, chief executive and founder, Youth Off The Streets
Review calls for input
FOR many people, the joy of having a baby is one of life’s most precious moments.
A birth marks the beginning of a new life, and can bring with it great responsibility and many years of reward.
But for some in our community, these life experiences never eventuate – despite a time consuming, often costly journey through assisted reproductive technology such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF).
So now, Victorian families with an experience of IVF are being urged to participate in a wide-ranging review of the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act – the first conducted in 10 years.
This review is timely, with almost four per cent of all births in Victoria resulting from a variety of assisted reproductive treatments, including IVF.
The aim of the review is to ensure the current legislation continues to provide adequate safeguards for people using these services.
A consultation paper and online survey allowing all Victorians to have their say has been released and can be found at engage.vic.gov.au/
This survey also includes an option to anonymously and confidentially tell personal stories about experiences with assisted reproductive treatment.
Formal submissions addressing any or all of the questions posed in the consultation paper can be lodged via engage.vic.gov.au/ or by email to ART.Review@dhhs.vic.gov.au
The survey closes and all formal submissions must be received by September 21 in order for an interim report to be prepared in October.
I want to hear from the community, those who have used assisted reproductive technology, and those with specialist knowledge, about their suggested changes and recommended improvements.
Michael Gorton, former chair, Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority and Patient Review Panel