Bushfire Rates Relief Package
We're committed to supporting our communities in the wake of the 2020 Upper Murray bushfires.
Bushfire Recovery Victoria, through the Victorian Government's Council Assistance Fund, has contributed $3.2 million to help us do that.
We're using the funds to credit:
- part of the 2019/20 and 2020/21 rates and business registration fees
- fees related to rebuilding of private assets in fire-affected areas.
This should alleviate some of the financial hardship experienced by Towong Shire residents and businesses impacted by the bushfires.
Types of rate relief
In working out how to allocate rate relief, we've carefully considered the different levels of impact caused by the fires – from direct, severe impacts to properties and lives through to indirect social and economic impacts.
If you're facing financial hardship, please contact Council’s property and rates team on 1300 365 222 or email@example.com to discuss alternative arrangements. This may include interest-free deferment of rates and instalment plans.
1. Relief for residents
If you're a ratepayer, your account will be automatically credited based on the classifications below. This will be reflected on individual rates notices.
All credited amounts will be equivalent to rates and fees in the 2020/21 financial year.
- Tier 1: Severe direct impact – Loss of residence and/or infrastructure (burnt): Automatic once-off credit of rates equivalent to four (4) instalments.
- Tier 2: Direct impact – Properties within the fire zone (burnt): Automatic once-off credit of rates equivalent to three (3) instalments.
- Tier 3: Indirectly impacted - The Upper Murray: Upper Murray properties that are not included in Tier 1 and 2 will receive a once-off credit of $350.
- Tier 4: Indirectly impacted – All Properties in Towong Shire: No rate increase will be applied for the 2020/21 financial year.
Three sets of data have been used to develop the tiers of impact and support:
- mapping of the fire impact zone by DELWP
- certified valuations (post-bushfire) by Valuer-General Victoria
- property impact assessments.
If you believe the extent of damage to your property has been recorded incorrectly, please contact our property and rates team on 1300 365 222 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Relief for businesses
- Business rates: Automatic once-off credit of rates equivalent to four (4) instalments.
- Business registration fees: Businesses classed as Food, Accommodation and Health Act Premises will have their business registration renewal fees waived throughout 2020 and 2021. New businesses won't pay a registration fee. While the fees are waived, businesses still need to renew their registration as usual.
3. Support for rebuilding and development
While permits are still required, all building, planning and septic tank permit fees will be waived in bushfire-affected areas throughout 2020 and 2021.
How to read your rates notice
If you're eligible for bushfire rate relief, you'll notice that your rates notice looks a little different.
A fourth box called 'Bushfire Relief' has been added. This will show:
- the tier of support you're eligible for
- the relief credit applied.
As usual, the 'Account Balance' box shows the total amount outstanding on your account. If you have a credit balance on your account, this will be shown in brackets – this means you don't need to make any payment.
Please note: The 'Your Account' section won't include the bushfire rate relief credit that's been applied. Instead, please refer to the 'Account Balance' displayed in the last box.
Here are some examples:
Example notice 1 – total credit $350
Example notice 1 shows that there is an account balance of ($350). This means the account is in credit of $350 and nothing is payable to Council.
Example notice 2 – payment due
Example notice 2 shows:
- an outstanding balance of $311 from previous instalments
- $311 due for this instalment
- minus $350 for Tier 3 of Bushfire Relief.
Therefore, the account balance indicates a balance owing of $272.