Rates Assistance

Colac Otway Shire Council collects rates to help fund local infrastructure and services.  While all property owners receive some benefit through the payment of rates and charges, it is important Council has a mechanism to consider the needs of property owners who are suffering genuine hardship.

Financial Hardship

If you are experiencing circumstances (financial, personal or otherwise) where further hardship would be incurred if payment of Council rates were enforced, you can apply to Council for assistance.  To be eligible for assistance, you must be experiencing ongoing financial hardship that is preventing you from paying the rates for your principle place residence.

Council has a Council Policy regarding assistance to rates debtors in hardship.  Under the policy, Council may waive interest that has already accrued and put a freeze on interest to allow you time to catch up on paying rates in arrears. 

View Council’s Policy regarding Assistance to Rates Debtors in Hardship here.

Colac Otway Shire Council is one of nine local organisations that developed the Financial Inclusion Action Plan (FIAP) in collaboration with Good Shepherd, to support customers in financial hardship. For more information on the FIAP, please visit: https://fiap.org.au

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning have developed their Ways to Save information portal to help you find ways to save on your everyday utility bills. Visit Ways to Save for more information.

Make a Payment Plan

To help you manage your rates account, Council offers a number of payment options which includes paying by instalments or making a payment plan.

Apply for Rates Financial Assistance

Council requires you to provide detailed information regarding your assets and liabilities, and income and expenditure in support of your application (this information is kept confidential). You can apply for rates assistance by filling out the form below.

You can return this form in person to one of Council’s customer service centres, email or via mail.

Financial Counselling Services

National Debt Helpline

Not-for-profit Victorian Government service providing free, confidential phone financial counselling for Victorians experiencing financial difficulty.

Please contact National Debt Helpline to request a referral to see a financial counsellor at your local financial counselling service.

Colac Area Health Financial Counselling

Money Help

Useful information on finance matters


There are a number of organisations that may be able to provide assistance

Colac Kindness Network
  • Helps local community members facing hardship, isolation or homelessness
Neighbourhood House
  • Develop new skills
  • Seek out new experiences
Food Bank
  • List of local food assistance
  • Homework Club
  • Driver Training
  • Financial Counselling
  • Health & Wellbeing
  • Family Services
Rural Financial Counselling
  • Financial Counselling
  • Small Business Support
  • Wellbeing Support
Agriculture Victoria
  • Rural Financial Counselling Services
Anglicare Victoria
  • Family/Personal Support
  • Education
  • Financial Counselling
  • Community Support Programs
Bethany Community Support
  • Family Support
  • Housing
  • Kindergarten
  • Financial Counselling
Good Shepherd
  • Family/Personal Support
  • Financial Services
  • Small Business Coaching
National Debt Helpline
  • Manage your debt
  • Financial Counselling
Brotherhood of St. Laurence
  • Family/Personal Support
  • Getting an Education
  • Saving and managing money
Community Information & Support Victoria
  • Family/Personal Support
  • Difficulty making ends meet
  • Housing
Ethnic Communities' Council of Victoria
  •  Family/Personal Support
Salvation Army
  • Financial Counselling/Assistance
  • Family Services
  • Housing