Council implements financial hardship policy to support community

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At the council meeting on Monday 1 June, council adopted the COVID-19 Financial Support and Hardship Policy allowing for a deferral or a payment plan for council rates and some fees.

The policy provides a waiver of fees, charges and registrations that would otherwise be payable for the period 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021 specifically:

Health Act registration fees

Food Act registration fees

Accommodation registration fees

Property lease payments due from community and sporting clubs

The policy is designed to support individuals and businesses in the Northern Grampians that require financial assistance from the impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Those seeking assistance will be able to apply to enter into a payment arrangement or defer payment of rates and fees to a later date if they can demonstrate the impact the pandemic has had on their financial situation.

Council will encourage ratepayers and those with fees owed to set up a payment arrangement with the rates team tailored specifically to individual needs to reduce the amount of debt owing after the pandemic.

If a payment plan is not suitable, council will hold interest on debt accumulated during the COVID-19 pandemic beginning from the declaration of the State of Emergency, 16 March 2020, until 30 September 2020 to allow time for the debt to be paid without interest.

Any debt outstanding after 30 September 2020 will be subject to interest and conditions set out in council’s Rates and Charges Debt Collection Policy.

Northern Grampians Shire Council Mayor, Murray Emerson, encouraged potential applicants to contact council’s rates department to discuss their situation before applying for assistance under the new policy.

“This new policy is all about supporting our community and, by providing these assistance options, we hope to alleviate some of the pressure this pandemic is having on our people and businesses,” he said.

“I encourage anyone who is in a tight spot to contact our rates team to go over their options before applying for assistance under this policy to make sure council can provide support in a way that best suits individual situations.”

“No sector or region of the Northern Grampians has been unaffected by this awful pandemic and council is doing everything we can to assist, support, and guide the community through this difficult time.”

To explore options in regards to rate relief, contact our rates department on 03 5358 8700 or visit www.ngshire.vic.gov.au/policies to view the COVID-19 Financial Support and Hardship Policy.

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