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.
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/about/fiap-placebased
Make a Payment Arrangement
To help you manage your rates account, Council offers a number of payment options which includes paying by instalments or making a payment arrangement.
Apply for COVID Rates Assistance
As a result of COVID-19, Council has reviewed its normal procedures regarding rates collection. Ratepayers who are unable to make payments will not be charged interest until end of June 2021 and will not be referred to debt collection. However, to avoid the debt collection process, ratepayers must contact Council to discuss any outstanding rates, payment options and alternative arrangements.
If you require rates assistance due to COVID, please complete the COVID-19 Rates Assistance Form or phone Council’s Customer Service Centre on 03 5232 9400 to discuss your rates.
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
Phone: 1800 007 007
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.
Please also visit the Money Help website for useful information on finance matters: www.moneyhelp.org.au