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“Fair” system required

FARMERS across the Southern Grampians Shire are campaigning for a “fairer rates system” under the shire’s new council.

The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) organised an online forum last Thursday, where more than 30 farmers came together to form a plan to lobby the 15 candidates for next month’s council election.

VFF president, David Jochinke said farmers were fed up with “unfair” increases to their rates bill each year.

“Farm rates in Southern Grampians have gone up by 46 per cent in the last three years, whilst residential rates haven’t changed,” he said.

“Farmers now make up 57 per cent of council’s rate base, yet they only represent a small part of the population.

“It’s totally unfair and unsustainable to keep this up. Council candidates need to understand the negative impact this has on the farming community and the need to rebalance the system.”

Melville Forest farmer, John Lyons said the group hoped to see the new council give more consideration to the rate differential.

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