Redland City Council adopts policy to help people in financial hardship to pay their rates

POLICY: The new financial hardship policy is set to bring the Redlands in line with south-east Queensland.
POLICY: The new financial hardship policy is set to bring the Redlands in line with south-east Queensland.

REDLAND City Council will work with residents struggling to pay their rates and charges after councillors today voted to adopt a new financial hardship policy.

Mayor Karen Williams said the policy allowed council officers to give advice about finding financial counselling and payment options like Centrepay, for those receiving government benefits.

It applied to residential customers or non-residential customers that used less than 100 kilolitres of drinking water per year.

Small customers identified as experiencing financial hardship will have access to flexible, interest-free payment plan options based on their individual circumstances.

Cr Williams said the policy ensured debt collection practices were sensitive to a ratepayers' financial situation.

"We know that some ratepayers experience difficulty in paying rates or charges and we aim to work with them in seeking a solution that suits everyone," she said.

"The cost of living is increasing for many residents and while council can't control the big costs such as electricity, we can ensure we have the processes in place to work with residents who are doing it tough."

The policy is a requirement under the South East Queensland Customer Water and Wastewater Code.

Cr Williams said the timely recovery of rates and charges was essential to ensure funding of council services and capital work projects.

"Our aim is to continue to work compassionately with ratepayers who are suffering genuine financial hardship to recover outstanding rates and charges," she said.

"Council will do all it can to assist those who reach out and need assistance."