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Whitsunday Regional Council today adopted a Hardship Policy enabling Council to provideadditional concessions to ratepayers experiencing hardship.
Mayor Jenny Whitney said Council is committed to the collection of overdue rates and charges in a fair, equitable and timely manner but with due consideration to financial hardship faced byratepayers and customers.
“The new hardship policy will allow a ratepayer to apply for a concession due to financial hardship but they must be able to demonstrate unusual and severe difficulty,” she said.
“The nature of the unusual and severe difficulty should be substantial to differentiate theapplication beyond the usual frustrations a ratepayer would have paying their rates notice.
“Once approved Council will be able to provide additional concessions to debtors experiencinghardship.
“This may include interest being written off where it is determined that a debt is irrecoverable oruneconomical to recover or when writing off interest will result in a favourable settlement of alloutstanding debt.
The development and application of Council’s Hardship Policy is based upon the followingprinciples:
• Council has a responsibility to recover monies owing to it in a timely and efficientmanner to finance its operations and ensure effective cash flow management;• Council must operate effective debt collection processes;• Council aims to minimise the amount of outstanding monies that it is owed;• Debtors are expected to take responsibility for their debt obligations and to organisetheir affairs in such a way as to be able to discharge these obligations when required.
The nature of applications for concession are generally determined on a case-by-case basisagainst the principles outlined in this policy.
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