News

Short term rate relief for residents and businesses experiencing financial hardship

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Picture: Marcus Aurelius on Pexels.com

RATE relief is available for residents and businesses across the Wollongong Local Government Area who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the challenges associated with coronavirus.

Council, at its meeting last night (Monday April 6), voted to approve an option for residential and business ratepayers, whose finances had been affected by coronavirus, to have the option to defer their rates and annual charges until August 31 2020.

Wollongong Lord Mayor, Gordon Bradbury said Council will also not charge any interest for overdue rates and has committed to not undertake legal action at this time.

“We are aware many people are facing challenging times financially in the face of coronavirus,” he said.

“I want our community to know, we hear you. We are listening, and we have responded.

“While we do encourage those residents and businesses to pay their Rates and Annual Charges if they’re in a position to do so, this is a small way we can provide a financial break to help those who are finding this time tough. Council will continue to monitor ways in which we can assist our residents in these difficult times.”

Each year, Council collects approximately 61 per cent of its income through rates and annual charges. This money is used to fund annual and capital works programs and in the delivery of services. For example, footpath works, road repairs and the ongoing maintenance of parks are all supported through rates.

The annual charges collected each year fund the collection and disposal of household waste, as well as the management of the city’s extensive and vital stormwater assets including pipes, channels, basins and how waterways receive urban stormwater.

“I appreciate that we might hear some commentary that people shouldn’t be paying rates at all given we’ve closed public access to our libraries, pools and community centres as part of response to coronavirus,’’ Cr Bradbery said.

“But this is incorrect. While we might have changed some of our services, I can assure you your Council is still here working for you. Bins are being collected, maintenance is ongoing in our rock pools and footpath works are being undertaken in Corrimal CBD. We are continuing to maintain our gardens, beaches, recreational and open spaces for residents to exercise in, as well as our ranger and compliance functions. And, we’re also making plans for the city once this situation has passed and we’re ready for a new and exciting phase in the city’s development.

“We will continue to review and respond to updated Government advice and I ask everyone to support one another – follow the social distancing advice, don’t go out unless it’s essential and to follow NSW Health’s advice and keep washing those hands.’’

For more information about the rates deferral call the Council on (02) 4227 7111. All businesses in the area who are impacted by coronavirus are also encouraged to seek support from the Federal and State governments through the www.business.gov.au website.

For more information on Council-related news on coronavirus visit its dedicated updates page.

About Mick Roberts

A Sydney journalist, writer and historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of pubs, inns and associated industries in Australia for over 30 years. He is currently working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides writing a number of history books, Mick has owned and managed several community newspapers. He was one time editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), Sydney based, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW. He currently calls the inner-Sydney suburb of Surry Hills home.

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