Toowoomba Regional Council (TRC) today unanimously extended its deferral of rate notice payments for eligible primary producers who are experiencing severe drought conditions.
Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio said Council had no hesitation in extending the decision that was introduced in August last year to offer some financial relief to the region’s eligible producers.
“A hot and dry summer has compounded many producers’ immediate outlook and Council is well aware of the ongoing financial and emotional strains that exist across these communities,” Mayor Antonio said.
“The Toowoomba Region has been drought-declared for more than four years and unfortunately the short term outlook does not offer the prospect of any substantial rain or a financial return for farming enterprises.”
TRC 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 people who were most affected and that’s what we committed to do from last August,” Cr Williams said.
“Council has agreed to defer the payment of the Rate Notice and the Water Rate Notice that will be issued (if applicable) during the half year ending June 30, 2019 until the due date of the Rate Notice to be issued during the half year ending December 31, 2019 (this date being September 3, 2019).
“This decision also means eligible residents are still able to receive their discount which normally only applies when a 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.