While we understand that for some ratepayers it will be business as usual, Council is concerned about the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on our local economy, local businesses and those people who have lost their jobs.
In response to the impacts of COVID-19, Council has decided that there will be no increase to general council-set rates and charges for the 2020/21 financial year.We have also implemented several immediate measures:
- Ratepayers can arrange to pay their rates weekly, fortnightly or monthly based on an amount that suits their budget (please complete a Payment Plan for Rates form)
- Ratepayers can apply to postpone the payment of rates for 6 months (between 1 March and 1 September 2020), without having to pay any fines or interest (please complete a Hardship - COVID19 form)
- Ratepayers who are experiencing financial difficulty due to loss of income can apply for a part or complete waiver of general rates (between 1 March and 1 September 2020) (please complete a Hardship - COVID19 form)
APPLY FOR RATES POSTPONEMENT OR WAIVER
The opportunity to apply for a postponement or waiver of the next two quarter rates and service charges will be available to those ratepayers who are in financial difficulty now due to COVID-19.
The applicant will need to complete a form, either online or at the office, stating the reasons that they are not in a position to pay.
For those ratepayers who have not suffered significant financial loss, please continue to make payments as usual.
RATES POSTPONEMENT PROCESS
- If you consider your hardship as a result of COVID-19 to be temporary, lasting as long as the restrictions, you may apply for postponement of the next 2 quarter rates charges, without penalty.
- In December 2020, the entire amount of outstanding debt becomes payable.
- You will continue to receive quarterly rates notice, without any penalty.
- If you do not anticipate being able to pay that balance in a lump sum in December 2020, then you must set up a rates repayment plan for the outstanding debt. Payment plan application forms can be found on our website or can be requested through our offices. Council’s Rates Officer can help you with this process if required.
RATES WAIVER PROCESS
- If you consider your financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 is extreme, you may apply to Council for waiver of rates for the next two quarters.
- You will need to provide Council with documentary evidence proving that your income has reduced as a result of COVID-19 restrictions.
In both instances, please wait until you receive your 2019/20 final quarter rates notices, which will be posted in late April 2020.
Application forms will be made available online and from our offices once 4th quarter rates notices have been issued. Once you receive your notice please check our website or Facebook page for further details on how to apply and where to access the application forms.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – RATES POSTPONEMENT
When can I make an application to have my rates and service charges postponed?
Please wait until you have received your fourth quarter rates notice.
What happens if I postpone payment of my rates for 6 months?
If you postpone your rates for 6 months, you will not be charged any fees or interest for that period. You will be issued a rates notice each quarter, but not charged fees or interest on the outstanding balance. At the end of the period the full amount will become payable.
My partner lost his/her job due to COVID-19 but my name is on the rates notice – can I still apply?
Yes. If your partner helps pay the bills and you can show he/she resides at the rated property you may be eligible.
What’s covered in the rates postponement?
All rates, service charges and NRM levy for the fourth quarter of 2019/20, and the first quarter of 2020/21 may be postponed.
I’m an existing hardship customer on a payment plan – what do I do?
If you have been further impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions you may be apply for a rates postponement of the next 2 quarter rates, without penalty. You will need to set up a payment plan for the debt after that time. Please call our Rates Officer on 8635 2107 to discuss your situation.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – RATES WAIVER
Ratepayers who have suffered financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 may apply to the CEO to waive the 4th quarter rates for 2019/20 in full. This will also apply for the 1st quarter rates in 2020/21. The ratepayer will need to provide documentary evidence of changed financial position as a result of the restrictions imposed as a result of COVID-19. Further details can be found in the Frequently Asked Questions below.
Please wait until you receive your 2019/20 final quarter rates notices, which will be posted in late April 2020.
Who is eligible for a waiver on their final quarter rates for 2019/20 and first quarter rates for 2020/21?
If you are an individual or business and have suffered a loss of income due to the COVID-19 emergency and do not believe you can meet either of your next two quarter rates payments, you can apply for a waiver on those rates and service charges.
What kind of evidence is required to be provided with my application?
- A separation letter showing you are no longer employed as a result of COVID-19 restrictions. This will need to show separation occurred after 1 March 2020, or;
- A letter from Centrelink, financial counsellor (or other agency) to show you are in financial difficulty as a result of COVID-19, or;
- A letter from your employer to show your hours have been reduced as a result of COVID-19 restrictions. This will need to show reduction of hours occurred after 1 March 2020, or;
- For businesses, anything to show loss of revenue, staff impacts etc. from the COVID-19 restrictions, or;
- For business owners who are tenants and pay the rates – a copy of your tenancy agreement or similar evidence to show you pay rates for the property.
I am a tenant – if my landlord has rates waived will that mean I pay less on my rent?
Council cannot force landlords to pass on any savings to tenants. However, as the Federal and State Governments are urging, we encourage landlords and tenants to discuss their individual cases. If a tenant pays the rates on the property then it would seem appropriate for the landlord to pass on the saving. Every tenancy agreement is different – it is important for you to discuss the situation with your landlord.
I paid my rates in full at the start of the year – do I get a refund?
No. The intent is that people who are in financial difficulty right now due to COVID-19 are supported. However, if you are having financial difficulties at any time you can contact our Rates Officer on 8635 2107 to discuss your circumstances.