Financial Hardship Relief

Ratepayers or Debtors experiencing financial hardship may be able to access relief from City of Busselton in the areas of rates, service charges, leases and or rental charges owed to the City from commercial or residential tenancy agreements and any other debt arising from a fee, interest or charge levied by the City.

To determine whether you are eligible for consideration, what sort of relief and/or assistance is available and to find out more about the application process, please view the FAQs below.

(NOTE: Please ensure you inform the City before any notice/demand letter due date that you will be lodging a Financial Hardship application to avoid instigation of recovery proceedings.)

You can lodge an online application for Financial Hardship.

How do I apply?

To apply for consideration for assistance under the Financial Hardship Policy you will need to complete the Financial Hardship Application form.  You will need to state your reasons for eligibility in accordance with the policy. In the case of a community group, you should state which group you represent, and provide evidence that you are authorised to apply on their behalf. 

Definitions?

  Term

 Meaning

 Act

 Local Government Act 1995

 Financial Hardship

 where a change in a person’s circumstances results in them being unable to pay City rates, service   and/or lease/rental charges without affecting their ability to meet their basic living needs, or the basic   living needs of their dependants

 Policy

 this City of Busselton Council policy titled “Financial Hardship”

 Ratepayer

 a person or entity that is responsible for the payment of rates to the City of Busselton

 Debtors

 a person or entity that owes money or has a financial obligation to the City of Busselton.

Am I eligible?

Each application will be assessed on its merits, on a case by case basis. City officers may also contact you to clarify or obtain additional information relevant to your application.

While evidence of hardship will be required, the City recognises that not all circumstances are alike. The City will take a flexible approach to a range of individual circumstances including, but not limited to:

  1. Recent unemployment or under-employment
  2. Sudden bereavement in the family
  3. Sickness or recovery from sickness
  4. Low income or loss of income
  5. Domestic or family violence

Individuals seeking financial support will be encouraged to provide any information about their individual circumstances that may be relevant for assessment. Documentation for assessment may include:

  1. a letter from a recognised Financial Counsellors’ Association of WA (FCAWA) financial counsellor or financial planner confirming financial hardship;
  2. a Statutory Declaration from a Ratepayer or Debtor outlining reasons for applying for hardship;
  3. a copy of recent bank statements of all bank accounts;
  4. any related Centrelink documentation (if applicable);
  5. a repayment proposal;
  6. evidence that the Ratepayer or Debtor is not bankrupt or subject to a bankruptcy petition.

What relief and/or assistance will the City of Busselton provide under the Financial Hardship Policy?

The City will seek to support Ratepayers and Debtors experiencing Financial Hardship, by providing financial support in the form of the following:

  1. Temporarily accept reduced payments under an alternative payment arrangement in payment of rates, service and/or lease/rental charges;
  2. Temporarily pause payment of rates, service and/or lease/rental charges for a set period of time;
  3. Waive interest and/or fee accrual/s for a set period of time; and/or
  4. Suspend any debt recovery action subject to adherence with an agreed payment arrangement plan.

    Payment arrangements?

    Payment arrangements facilitated in accordance with Section 6.49 of the Local Government Act 1995 will be of an agreed frequency, amount and period of time. These arrangements will consider the following:

    1. whether an applicant has made genuine effort to meet debt obligations in the past;
    2. whether the payment arrangement will establish a known end date that is realistic and achievable.

    Interest, fees or penalty charges on existing rates, service and/or lease/rental charges may not be levied for the period of a payment arrangement that has been approved by the City.

    The City will suspend debt recovery procedures while negotiating a suitable payment arrangement with debt recovery procedures remaining suspended while payments are being met by the due date of an approved payment arrangement.

    If a Hardship Applicant is unable to make payments in accordance with the agreed payment arrangement and that Applicant makes an alternative payment arrangement with the City before defaulting on the second due payment then the City will continue to suspend all debt recovery procedures.

    Where payment arrangements are not adhered to, or an alternative arrangement is not made before the second payment default then the City will offer one further opportunity to adhere to a new payment arrangement that will clear all rates, service and/or lease/rental charges within an acceptable period of time.

    New debts that remain outstanding at the end of the current financial year will be subject to the City’s usual debt recovery procedures.

    When will I find out if my application has been approved?

    If all required evidence, documentation and/or information is provided to the City then it is expected that an application should be assessed within 5 working days. 

    Financial Hardship reviews?

    Financial Hardship assessments and any associated payment arrangements will be reviewed by the City within a set period of time. The City will advise Hardship Applicants of the outcome of the review, and advise them of their right to seek further review and procedural adjustment.

    What if I am refused an application for Financial Hardship and my circumstances adversely change?

    You will need to contact the City of Busselton to provide the additional information as to how your circumstances has changed. City officers will re-assess the application taking into consideration the additional information and provide a decision.

     

    Related Information

    Financial Hardship Policy

    Financial Hardship Application

    If you've encountered a problem with the website or have any general feedback, please provide comment via this form.

    Was this page helpful?