Rates relief needed across the board for fire-affected communities

Today’s announcement of a $10 million package for local government areas directly affected by bushfires is a step in the right direction, but misses the mark.

Last week, the Liberal Nationals called on the Andrews Labor Government to provide council rates relief over the next two years for residents who have lost homes and businesses affected by Victoria’s dreadful bushfires.

This should include businesses in places like Mallacoota, Corryong and Omeo where businesses have been severely impacted by the downturn in tourism, as well as primary producers who have lost stock and crops, and grape-growers and wine producers who have lost this year’s vintage due to smoke damage.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Local Government, Tim Smith:

“Rates relief should be applied fairly to ratepayers who have lost homes and whose businesses have been so badly affected by Victoria’s dreadful bushfires.

“By ignoring the needs of neighbouring LGAs, which are adversely affected by the bushfires, the Andrews Labor Government is neglecting many parts of regional Victoria outside the State of Disaster areas.”

Comments attributable to Member for Benambra, Bill Tilley:

“There is an old saying in the bush when primary producers are doing well their local economy thrives, so therefore there is a direct correlation between the health of the land and the health of a local economy. Unfortunately, this announcement, although welcome, neglects those businesses that have lost their pasture.

“The practicality of this announcement today will see a lot of primary producers unable to meet eligibility criteria. If the Andrews Labor Government is really serious with this announcement, it must at the minimum double its package.”

Comments attributable to Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull:

“Coming off three years of drought and now having the peak of their tourism season destroyed, East Gippsland businesses need direct financial support.

“Tax relief measures and interest-free loans won’t be enough to get many businesses through. Full rates relief would be a good start to a proper support package.”

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