Council has adopted a Rates Assistance policy to ensure that ratepayers who are experiencing financial hardship can get some form of financial relief in meeting their property rates, charges and levy payments . The options available include:
- An individual payment plan that, for instance, might allow pensioners to pay on a fortnightly basis to assist their budgeting process.
Ratepayers who receive Centrelink payments can apply through either Council or Centrelink to have fortnightly payments taken directly from their allowance and paid to Council at no cost to the ratepayer. Interest would continue to be charged on rate arrears.
- A deferred payment plan, which allows the rates to become a charge on the property. The charge incurs interest over time, but it stops the immediate cash pressures on individuals.
For example, if a property as at the 2018 valuation was valued at $300,000 and the property attracted an increase of 40%, the capital value would have increased by $120,000 whereas the rates payable over two years would only be a fraction of that. This means that the property owner has increased wealth of $120,000 but it would not be recognised in cash terms.
By opting for deferment and making the rates an outstanding charge on the property, the property owner does not then have the worry of financing their rate payment. The debt that the property acquires would be settled on disposal of the property. Note that interest would continue to be charged on the arrears balance.
Applications for rates assistance may only relate to the applicants primary place of residence and are not available for residential investment, commercial or industrial properties.
Applications for Rates Assistance must be made in writing on the Application for Rates Assistance form.
Any person unable to pay their rates in accordance with the set payment schedule should first contact the Rates Coordinator for a confidential discussion regarding the above options prior to making an Application for Rates Assistance.
Rates Concession - Pension Concession Rebate
The municipal rates concession provides for a rebate of up to 50% on rates and charges. The rebate for 2018–19 is $229.40 and this amount increases with the Consumer Price Index every year.
An additional annual payment of $70 is offered by the Borough of Queenscliffe in 2018–19 to all properties with an eligible DHS pension concession.
Eligible pensioners will also be entitled to a rebate of $50 off their Fire Service Property Levy total charges.
Rate concessions are available to holders of Department of Veterans Affairs Concession Cards, TPI, POW, EDA and War Widow Repatriation Cards and Centrelink Pensioner Concession Cards.
Applications are to be made in person. Please visit Customer Service at Council offices, 50 Learmonth Street, Queenscliff. Please bring your concession card with you.
For more information on concession programs, please call 1800 658 521 or visit the Department of Health and Human Services website.