Council’s COVID-19 Financial Hardship Policy will continue to give significant rates relief to residents and businesses following its extension.
At last night’s meeting, Council approved a revised version of the successful support package to apply to the 2021-2022 financial year and identified mental health support as the focus for its new COVID-19 Recovery Initiative.
At its 27 April 2021 Meeting, Council confirmed a further $50,000 to extend a revised version of the Financial Hardship Policy, and last night approved this update which will continue to:
- Waive a maximum of $500 off rates at the principal place of residence for residents who received Jobseeker as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic;
- Waive a maximum of $500 off rates on businesses that received Jobkeeper payments as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; and
- Waive $100 off rates on properties for residents who can demonstrate a 30% or more reduction in income.
Eligibility criteria for the COVID-19 Financial Hardship Policy has also been updated, recognising that Jobkeeper payments are no longer offered by the Federal Government.
In April, Council also agreed to refer $50,000 towards a COVID-19 Recovery Program. Following confirmation last night, an Expression of Interest (EOI) process will be developed to seek the delivery of targeted mental health services in Golden Plains. Qualified and skilled mental health providers will be invited to submit proposals on supporting Golden Plains communities with mental health information and services. These proposals will seek innovative ideas to respond to community needs, including in-person services at various locations. The EOI is expected to be advertised in August.
Mayor Cr Helena Kirby says the extension of the COVID-19 Financial Hardship Policy and creation of the Recovery Initiative would support local ratepayers that are still financially impacted by the pandemic.
“With the ongoing impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, Council will continue to offer assistance to local residents and businesses in 2021-2022 with $50,000 of support through the COVID-19 Financial Hardship Policy and $50,000 for a COVID-19 Recovery Initiative focused on improving mental health services.
“Over the past year, Council’s COVID-19 Financial Hardship Policy delivered valuable rate relief to 141 ratepayers who were significantly impacted by the pandemic. Council is pleased that under the extended policy, we will be able to continue to support those residents who need it over the next 12 months.
“COVID-19 and restrictions haven’t just affected community members financially; it’s often taken a toll on individuals’ mental health as well. That’s why Council has agreed that providing targeted mental health services to our community will be the focus of our $50,000 COVID-19 Recovery Initiative.”
As of 30 June 2021, $85,186 of the original $100,000 COVID-19 Financial Hardship Policy fund has been used to financially assist 141 ratepayers who were financially impacted by COVID-19 pandemic. This amount includes $10,481 to waive environmental health permits and $9,900 to waive the Meredith Interpretative Centre lease. The updated COVID-19 Financial Hardship Policy and application form is now available on Council’s website here.