ADVOCATING for a fairer rates system will be a major focus for farmers in the Wimmera heading into this month’s state election.
The Victorian Farmers Federation Wimmera branch held a meeting on Monday night in Horsham to discuss a range of topics. President Daniel Keam said rates would continue to be an ongoing issue for the farming community.
“Rates always seem to be something we discuss, specifically the rating structure and how unfair it is,” he said.
“We still haven’t been able to work out a new system. No one seems to be able to come up with a better solution to what we already have.”
Both the Labor and Liberal-Nationals have made pledges to conduct a rates inquiry if elected this month. Mr Keam said it was a step in the right direction.
“It will just be a matter of whether or not anything actually happens, no matter who is elected,” he said.
“We will continue to lobby no matter what. This is bigger than just farmers – this is about how our local councils are funded as well.
“We’ve just been smacked with high rate increases, so of course we’re going to kick back, but we’ve also got to look at how our councils are funded and what services they provide.
“They are providing services that they would have never even thought of 30 years ago and they’ve had to find the money from the same rate revenue.”
He said live animal exporting and chemical use were also hot topics discussed at the meeting.
“We were discussing what the alternatives would be (to live animal export). Chemical use is also a big thing at the moment, especially in the grains industry,” he said.