Business leaders from across the region met with Member for Euroa Annabelle Cleeland and Shadow Treasurer Brad Rowswell in Seymour last week to discuss current challenges on local traders.
People from Kilmore and Seymour were represented at the roundtable, which focused on regional investment, tax-induced strain placed on local businesses, and overspending by the State Government.
Local businesses have faced a difficult two years with COVID-induced lockdowns, significant floods, and increased taxes.
“We’ve got businesses that have survived COVID, they’ve survived the floods, and now their punishment is high taxes,” Ms Cleeland said.
“There’s genuine fear regional Victoria is going to pay the price of the overspending in Melbourne.
“At the moment, regional communities are only receiving 13 per cent of funding for projects across the state despite making up 25 per cent of the population.
“This disparity means that regional communities are only receiving 50 per cent of what they should be, yet they are still facing the same consequences of high taxes.”
Mr Rowswell said Victoria was the highest taxing state in Australia.
He said Victorians paid an average of $5638 to both state and local governments in 2021-22, compared to $5537 in New South Wales.
The total amount collected by the state and local governments was $36.9 billion, a 25 per cent increase from $29.6 billion the year before.
“We’re seeing these taxes cripple local businesses as well as the budgets of households across the state,” he said.