Rate relief on the table at Carpentaria and Cloncurry

Councils considering coronavirus-impacted rate relief options

Coronavirus
The Carpentaria Shire Council is considering a number of rate relief measures.

The Carpentaria Shire Council is considering a number of rate relief measures.

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Carpentaria and Cloncurry Shire Councils have moved to assure ratepayers experiencing hardship in the wake of the blanket national shutdown undertaken to combat the spread of COVID-19.

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Carpentaria and Cloncurry Shire Councils have moved to assure ratepayers experiencing hardship in the wake of the blanket national shutdown undertaken to combat the spread of COVID-19.

The Carpentaria Shire Council's CEO Mark Crawley foreshadowed an amnesty on interest payments for overdue rates once that council is out of its caretaker period.

Speaking as the discount period was due to end last Wednesday, Mr Crawley said they had taken a large volume of phone calls from ratepayers regarding a potential extension for rates payment as well, or paying by instalment.

"There will be a report to the April council meeting about suspending interest charges," he said. "Paying rates off over a longer period is something ratepayers can apply for at any time, subject to guidelines."

Payment plans for financial hardship void any discount.

The council's offer of a 10 per cent discount on general rates and charges for ratepayers making full payment on all outstanding rates and charges expired on March 25.

The six month amnesty, if approved, would be available to anyone paying rates in the local authority area, not to any one category, Mr Crawley said.

"There are no tourists so the impact is being felt there," he said. "A lot of businesses had to close and cash flows have been impacted."

An amnesty would allow ratepayers experiencing genuine financial difficulties to enter into a six month payment arrangement to allow for the current levy to be cleared prior to any future levies being issued.

Mr Crawley said it wasn't a decision he could make as CEO but he thought the new council would support his report.

"It's one thing the council can do, rather than say, don't pay rates for now.

"That would be a burden on the council later."

The Cloncurry Shire Council issued a statement on Wednesday saying 'non-essential businesses' in the shire impacted by COVID-19 restrictions could apply for the deferment of their rates until August 31.

Applications are through a one-page form available on Council's website.

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