Nationals back local councils as they ask for help for rate relief

By McIvor Times

LOCAL Nationals MPs have backed councils calling for rate relief from the Victorian Government as the impact of action to prevent the spread of coronavirus bites across north-east and central Victoria.

Twelve councils from the Hume Local Government Network, including the Mitchell Shire, wrote to Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas requesting urgent assistance to provide rate relief.

Deputy Nationals leader Steph Ryan and State Member for Ovens Valley Tim McCurdy said helping councils reduce rates was a fast and effective way for the Victorian Government to support distressed local businesses and property owners.

“Councils should be offering rate relief to distressed households, but they need the state government to give them a hand,” Ms Ryan said.

“Local councils do not have the bucketloads of cash city municipalities raise from parking fees and permits, which means they are not in the same position to freeze or reduce rates without state government support.

“Rate relief is a fast way to ease the burden on the community at a time when many are in a dire financial situation.”

Mr McCurdy said Victorian Government assistance was needed to help councils keep staff, provide essential services and continue to support communities.

“The costs to councils dealing with this crisis are mounting quickly, and if the state government doesn’t step in with funding, it will be ratepayers who will be left to foot the bill,” Mr McCurdy said.

“This is a very sensible and pragmatic request from our local councils, and I urge the Victorian Government to expedite support.”