The City’s COVID Advisory Committee recently recommended Council adopt a Financial Hardship Policy that recognises the financial stress facing vulnerable ratepayers and provides flexibility in the payment of rates and service charges.
Mayor Dan Bull said while the policy was timely, it is part of the City’s longer term strategy to assist ratepayers and debtors who experience financial hardship.
“The COVID-19 crisis has impacted so many sections of our community; from local businesses, local contractors, to our much loved community groups and local sporting clubs.
“The intent of this policy is to support the vulnerable in our community over the longer term, beyond the COVID-19 crisis. People facing extreme financial hardship are often already on low incomes and are facing a situation where they are unable to pay their debts without impacting their ability to provide the basics for themselves and their families.
“The City’s Financial Hardship Policy takes into account an individual’s personal circumstance. Arrangements can now be made if an individual has lost their primary source of income, experienced a sudden bereavement within the family, has a life threatening medical condition or is affected by a domestic or family violence situation.
“The City’s Financial Hardship Policy offers those suffering genuine financial hardship with options including access to flexible payment options when paying their rates, the ability to have interest charged on rates waived or suspended, and the cessation of debt recovery as a result of non-payment of rates.
“The policy is designed to ensure those suffering genuine financial hardship are treated with respect, equality and confidentiality.