Drought-affected rural properties within the region received a welcome boost today with Toowoomba Regional Council (TRC) providing financial relief to those who have been significantly impacted.
The decision to provide assistance was moved earlier today at a Special Meeting of Council, with Councillors voting unanimously in favour of the motion.
Toowoomba Regional Council Mayor Paul Antonio said the decision would provide much-needed respite to residents who have been experiencing hardship.
“The Toowoomba Region has been drought-declared for more than four years,” he said.
“The conditions have placed significant financial and emotional pressures on the communities in our area and the decision today will help reduce some of that pressure.
“The producers in our area haven’t received significant rainfall in a long time and are in desperate need of a helping hand.
“While we can only pray for more rain, what we can do is provide assistance to residents with their Rate’s Notices.”
Toowoomba Regional Council Finance and Business Strategy Committee Chair Cr Mike Williams echoed the Mayor’s comments and said Council had a history of responding to residents who had experienced adversity due to extreme climatic conditions.
“Following the 2011 floods we were able to provide assistance to those most-affected and that’s what we will be doing again this time,” he said.
“Council has agreed to defer the payment of the Rate Notice and the Water Rate Notice issued during the first half of the 2018/19 financial year until the second Rate Notice, which will be issued during the half year ending 30 June 2019 (being 5 March 2019).
“By making the decision today we are also ensuring that these residents who have been drought-affected are still able to receive their discount which normally only applies when your Rate Notice is paid within the first 31 days.
“Any ratepayer who owns a drought-affected property in the TRC area, and is able to demonstrate eligibility for the Australian Government Farm Household Allowance as a direct result of the 2018/19 drought, will be eligible for the deferment of payments from Council.”
Residents who find that deferment has resulted in an accumulation of debt which has placed an additional burden and strain of their financial management situation, are encouraged to make a separate application to Council for the purposes of pursuing individual payment arrangements in accordance with Council’s adopted policy and established procedures.
Residents who are unsure whether they are eligible, should contact Council on 131 872.