COVID-19 Council Support
Golden Plains Shire Council has confirmed a package of financial relief options for local residents and businesses to support the Golden Plains community in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With State and Federal Governments taking the lead on major financial measures including the new Jobkeeper and increased Jobseeker programs to keep regular income coming in to households, Council has reviewed a variety of measures to alleviate the pressure of upcoming payments while still maintaining its delivery of important community services and its responsibilities as a significant local employer.
Golden Plains Shire Council will deliver the following COVID-19 related relief measures:
Ratepayers and residents experiencing financial hardship
- Introduction of a Special COVID-19 Financial Hardship Policy for Golden Plains Shire Council ratepayers
- Suspension of all current debt recovery action for unpaid 2019/20 rates through to 30 September 2020
- Waive interest on overdue 2019/20 rates through to 30 September 2020
- Waive penalties for late payment on pet registration fees through to 30 September 2020 (note: pets must still be registered by 10 April 2020)
- New payment plans available for animal registration renewals
- Introduction of a Special COVID-19 Financial Hardship Policy for local businesses
- Commitment to pay invoices from all local businesses within 14 days to support cash flow
- Extension of time applications for business-related septic tank and planning permits expiring before 30 September 2020 can be lodged at no cost
- Refund of all permit fees for events and activities that have been cancelled or closed as directed by Government
- New allowance for commercial businesses to reduce their waste collection arrangements if necessary
- Free mentoring support for small businesses experiencing hardship
- Free promotion of local businesses on Council’s website and social media with Be Kind to Business campaign: goldenplains.vic.gov.au/business/be-kind-business
- Dedicated COVID-19 business support page on Council's website with links to Federal and State Government programs: goldenplains.vic.gov.au/business/covid-19-business-support
- Access to dedicated business support officer within Council for local businesses to receive individual assistance
- Council will continue budgeted capital works as scheduled to maximise local business and employment opportunities
Mayor Cr Owen Sharkey said that Council understands that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a sudden and significant impact on residents and local businesses, and that the new financial measures will give a meaningful helping hand.
“Council’s new financial relief options will help those members of our community who need it the most with a new Financial Hardship Policy specifically for ratepayers impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, tailoring options including suspending all current debt recovery action and waiving interest on overdue rates and pet registration fees.
“Residents who have not been directly impacted by this crisis can also make a positive difference by paying their rates and fees on the regular schedule, allowing Council to continue delivering many essential services for our most vulnerable residents including Meals on Wheels and home and personal care for aged and disabled residents.
“Council has also put in place a new program of support for local businesses including refunding permit fees for cancelled events, paying invoices to local businesses as a priority to help them keep money coming in the door and extension of permits and reductions in fees to keep business costs down.
“Golden Plains Shire is joining municipalities across Victoria to lobby for State Government support to deliver rate relief that can be passed on to residents, as the ACT has done, as well as seeking a deferment of the significant increase in the waste levy charged by the Victorian Government. Our Council is also working to finalise a tight and responsible Draft 2020/2021 Budget that meets the current economic landscape while fulfilling Council’s service commitments.”
Council is working to implement its financial relief options as soon as possible. If residents have any enquiries, or require any further information, Council’s team will be ready to assist from Wednesday 8 April 2020; call Customer Service at 5220 7111. The COVID-19 Financial Hardship Policies will also be available to view on Council’s website on Wednesday 15 April 2020.