Media Response Oakleigh Traders
Questions and Responses
Monash Council is offering rate payment deferral for landlords without penalty interest on final installments for 2019-2020. As business is so bad, dropping by 90 per cent or non- existent, can this final installment be heavily reduced or waived instead?
Council has not yet made a decision on waivers of rate payment. The deferment scheme has been heavily subscribed to already with many ratepayers (residential and commercial) taking advantage of the deferment for the 4th installment for 2019/20 giving ratepayers an opportunity to defer this cost (and for commercial operators, a business cost) for some 14-15 months. While we understand the pressures businesses are under, Council must continue to provide essential services such as bin collections, immunisations and road maintenance, and the overwhelming majority of our income is sourced from rates. The Federal and State Governments have announced support packages to assist business.
The 2020-2021 rates can also be deferred. But it will take a while for business to pick up once restrictions are eased. Can commercial rates be decreased for 2020-2021 year?
As with the 2019/20 rates, at this stage, the deferment scheme is available for the 2020/21 rates and charges. We know this is a difficult time for many of our ratepayers and we are here to support them. Council is working to help ratepayers who are experiencing difficulties due to the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic as it impacts lives and businesses and the changes to our hardship policy are designed to support our community at this time.
While Council has reduced its operating costs at its aquatic and leisure centres, and closed other public facilities such as libraries, halls and golf courses in line with restrictions, these facilities are mostly funded from fee-paying clients so our revenues have also been significantly restricted.
Council will consider all financial impacts of COVID-19 when drafting the 2020/21 Annual Budget as well as continue to support the community.
Footpath trading fees have been suspended/ refunded. What relief is council offering businesses with other fees for things like business registration, licences, footpath signs?
We are encouraging traders to utilise the help available to them via the State and Federal Governments and we also encourage any trader to contact us directly to discuss their circumstances. Our Economic Development team is also working hard to ensure businesses know what support is available to them. We’d encourage businesses to subscribe to the team’s newsletter here.
We’ve just launched an online business directory so the community can continue to support their local traders. We know that many business have changed their trading practices to comply with the government restrictions, but are also continuing to operate and we want to support their great efforts in working through these challenging times. We’ll be promoting our Back our Businesses – Shop Local campaign through our publications, newsletters, online and social media and posters around the municipality. Businesses can register here.
Oakleigh businesses have to fill-in COVID-19 hardship assistance forms for rate and fee relief. This is more work for them. Is there simpler, faster way?
We’ve made the process as quick as we can, balancing the need for a streamlined process with having the information we need to assess applications. We have received around 400 applications in under 10 days and the majority of these have been approved within a few days. The process takes around 5 minutes to complete so we think it’s as simple as we can make it. We have also made an undertaking to advise the ratepayer within 14 days of the application of the application acceptance. We encourage traders to contact us directly if they have any questions.
Issued: 4 May 2020
To: Neos Kosmos
Quoting: Mayor, Councillor Stuart James