The Liberal Nationals are calling 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.
Without this relief, property owners whose homes have been burnt down would still be required to pay council rates.
The rates relief should also extend to local businesses that have been severely impacted for the same two-year period.
This would 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.
This should include all councils and shires that were declared a State of Disaster, as well as their neighbouring shires: Alpine Shire, East Gippsland Shire, Mansfield Shire, Towong Shire, Wangaratta Rural Shire, Wellington Shire, and the alpine resorts of Mount Buller, Mount Hotham and Mount Stirling or any other shires affected by bushfire this summer where there has been significant stock, crop or property damage.
Given we are only six weeks into summer, unfortunately, this list of shires could well grow to cover any other local government area that has been affected by bushfire.
Councils have a huge role to play in the recovery process and should not have to wear the cost of delivering rates relief to residents. Daniel Andrews needs to step up and help these communities out.
Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Local Government, Tim Smith:
“These fires have devastated communities, the least that Daniel Andrews can do is spare people who have lost their homes by lifting the financial burden of council rates.
“It’s simply not fair that the mayors and councillors in fire-affected areas are having their pay doubled but property owners are still being slugged with council rates which are a significant cost of living pressure at the best of times but even more so because of the huge impact these fires have had on lives and business across our great state.”