Wellington Shire Council will allocate the $3.31 million Local Government Service Support Payment to rate relief for drought affected farmers.
At its meeting today, Council agreed that once the formal funding agreement from the Victorian Government had been received, the funds would be used to provide rate relief for all farming properties classified in Council’s rating system as farm properties as of 1 July 2019.
The total of $3.31 million represents about 30% of the general farm rate for the 3,500 properties in Wellington.
In making the decision, Council reviewed the allocation of drought support funding from all levels of government including the $1 million allocated from Council’s own drought fund.
Council also consulted its Agriculture Industry Reference Group (AIRG).
Wellington Shire Council Mayor Alan Hall said local farmers had been asking for rate relief and he was pleased Premier Daniel Andrews and Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes had been able to assist.
“We thank the Premier for recognising this need and assisting Council to provide this assistance to farmers during this drought,” he said.
“Council will allocate the entire $3.31 million to rate relief, so farmers can look forward to this being credited to their rate assessment.
“That, along with the other initiatives such as Council’s $700 debit card initiative, water cartage and various event-based programs will provide much welcomed relief for our local farming community who have been doing it tough.”
Council is currently working on the logistics around the rates credit and will be contacting farmers early next month once the funding has been received by the Victorian Government.