Faster way for Coast residents to get rates relief
RESIDENTS seeing seeking rates relief will have their applications assessed more quickly following changes to the council's Financial Hardship Policy.
At its meeting this week, the Fraser Coast Regional Council amended the Financial Hardship Policy by replacing an external tribunal with an internal panel to review applications.
"The current policy has been in place for two years to provide relief for overdue rates," Cr David Lee said.
"The council introduced the policy after a number of floods and then drought hit the Fraser Coast.
"The changes streamline the process by replacing an external tribunal with an internal panel to review applications.
"The change will allow the assessment panel to sit more regularly to provide faster responses to applicants."
About 200 applications have been processed since the policy was first introduced in 2018.
The policy applies to ratepayers who are experiencing serious financial hardship and as a result are unable to pay their rates and charges.
"It covers non-profit community organisations and residential properties where the property is the ratepayer's principal place of residence.
"The policy change is not in response to the economic impact of COVID-19," Cr Lee said.
"The council is already assessing how COVID-19 will impact our budget.
"We have released a number of measures to help stimulate the economy and help Fraser Coast businesses as part of a million dollar coronavirus financial assistance package.
"We hope to bring further measures forward in the next budget."
The external members of the Tribunal were instrumental in developing the process to assess Financial Hardship applications.
"They have invested a lot of time over the past two years in going over the applications, as well as testing and improving the process," Cr Lee said.
"We thank them for their invaluable contribution to this important policy and process."
To contact the council, call 1300 79 49 29.