Wellington Shire Council extends rate relief for farmers experiencing tough times because of drought

Council extends rate relief for farmers

WELLINGTON Shire Council will extend the amount of rate relief provided to local farmers.

Council will seek approval from state Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes to use $500,000 it received from the government's Community Priorities Fund on farmer rate relief.

It comes on top of the $3.31 million from the state government which has already been directed to rate relief.

The total $3.81 million to Wellington was announced by Premier Daniel Andrews in October as part of the government's $31 million drought funding package.

Since the initial rate relief decision, council has received $1 million from the federal government.

This, combined with the balance of council's Drought Support Initiative Fund of $490,000 following the distribution of debit cards to farmers, should cover the funding required to implement key recommendations in its 'Looking Ahead' document to help communities through the drought.

Because of that, council considered it appropriate to add the Community Priorities Fund money to its rate relief total.

Councillor Ian Bye said council met with its agriculture industry representative group to determine the best use of the government money.

"We decided that giving another five per cent rate relief on top of the existing $3.31 million will be what we should do with that money," he said.