Financial Hardship Assistance Policy

Purpose
The purpose of the Financial Hardship Policy (“Hardship Policy”) is to enable Council
to provide assistance to community members who are suffering financial hardship by providing an
appropriate level of relief from Local Government rates.

Scope
1.2.1 Application and Intent
The Hardship Policy applies to:

• Ratepayers experiencing genuine and serious financial hardship and
needing assistance to meet both their basic needs and their rate payment obligations to
Council.
• Commercial/business ratepayers within the Commercial Land Use Category who are
experiencing hardship due to the loss of operating revenue or reduced disposable income.

The Hardship Policy is not intended to be used to maintain financial positions for those who do not
need it and are not genuinely impacted by serious financial hardship.

The Hardship Policy applies only to Council rates and charges levied in accordance with Part 9 –
Rates and Charges of the Local Government Act 1993. The Hardship Policy does not apply to rates or
fees collected on behalf of other authorities in accordance with section 88 of the Local Government
Act 1993, such as fire service contributions collected pursuant to section 79B of the Fire Service
Act 1973.

1.2.2 Background
The Hardship Policy was developed and implemented during the 2020 COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic
that spread across the world. To respond to the disease, governments around the world shut down
social activities and interaction to prevent transmission, which necessarily caused significant
impacts on many economic activities and transactions. As a result, many people have lost jobs,
their clients or their business, destroying incomes and spending. Council is determined to
assist those most critically impacted by the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic with a robust
and fair hardship policy.

Despite this, serious financial hardship can occur at any time, so the Hardship Policy
is designed to address a range of circumstances.

1.3 Principles
The Hardship Policy will be applied in accordance with the following principles:
(1) Consistent, equitable and respectful treatment of all residents and
ratepayers that is sensitive to their specific circumstances.
(2) Maintaining Council’s ability to provide essential services to our community
through appropriately applied rating.

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