Council rate relief needed

By Corowa Free Press

Nationals Member for Ovens Valley Tim McCurdy is calling for the Andrews Labor Government to provide council rate relief to local businesses, grape growers and primary producers impacted by the bushfires.

Mr McCurdy and Shadow Minister for Local Government Tim Smith were in Milawa on Tuesday, one of many local towns where businesses have suffered a devastating loss in tourism and trade, due to the fires.

“Local businesses across the region are doing it extremely tough as a result of the fires and smoke with tourists staying away in droves,” Mr McCurdy said.

“In addition to those who have lost homes, these businesses really need support – that’s why we are calling for the Labor Government to provide council rate relief over the next two years to those impacted in the Rural City of Wangaratta and Alpine Shire Council. 

“This rate relief is also needed for grape growers and wine producers who may have lost this year’s vintage due to smoke taint and primary producers who have lost stock and crops.” 

Mr McCurdy said the financial burden of council rates could simply be too much for local operators on top off the impact of the bushfires. 

“Daniel Andrews needs to acknowledge that even though many local areas were not directly impacted by flames, the repercussions of the fires are devastating, occurring during the peak summer tourist season and at critical times for the wine industry and farmers,” he said.

“It should not be up to our local councils who have already played a significant role in the relief and recovery of our communities to also provide rates relief to residents, business and industry – we need Daniel Andrews to recognise this situation and act now to provide rates relief.”