ARARAT - To all those farmers to whom Ararat Rural City Council's differential rating system has become a thorn in the side, now is the time to have your say.
The State Government has released a set of draft guidelines and ratepayers, Councils and other interested organisations have been invited to participate in the state-wide consultation process.
The government believes there's been a significant increase in the use of differential rates and in the inconsistency of their application, raising a number of community concerns, and believes it's important to establish consistent principles to guide Councils in their use.
You have to feel for our farming community, who are often asset rich and cash poor, yet have to hand over thousands of dollars in rates. Some Ararat Rural City farmers are paying up to $30,000 in rates, a horrific figure.
We might complain about our high rates in the urban area, but spare a thought for our farmers, they struggle enough as it is with the weather and market place determining their annual pay cheque, let alone the huge costs imposed on them by our council's differential rate system.