“The states should step in and pay council rates for farmers in drought.”
That was the call from the Federal Minister for Drought, David Littleproud, to get state governments to “stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their farmers and regional communities”.
Not long after the South Australian state government announced a $21 million package to fund rebates on council rates, provide pastoral lease rent relief and the Rural Financial Counselling Service.
On top of state paying rates for farmers in droughted areas he also said they should look at measures such as crown lease holidays.
“They can also give payroll tax exemptions to businesses dependent on agriculture, like the local meat works, because their drought is coming as soon as it rains,” Mr Littleproud said.
“The states also own our power companies and can offer farmers a discounted rate through a food and fibre tariff.
“Agriculture is a strategically important industry and we all need to work together to bring farmers through the drought.”