Councils court out over rates debt collection
NSW local councils are being encouraged to work with people who have unpaid rates to get on payment plans instead of taking ratepayers to court.
Local Government Minister Gabrielle Upton and Attorney General Mark Speakman today released new Debt Management and Hardship Guidelines and called on all councils in NSW to review their policies and procedures to treat ratepayers more fairly.
Ms Upton said the State’s 128 councils collect more than $4 billion in rates each year which fund roads, footpaths, libraries, parks and swimming pools.
“While there’s no doubt councils must recover unpaid rates, the guidelines make it clear councils must work better with their ratepayers on payment terms without going to court straight away, especially for those suffering financial hardship such as loss of employment, illness, separation or death in the family.
“While many councils have good practices to support ratepayers in hardship, I want all councils to do this. The new guidelines give a fairer go to ratepayers,” Ms Upton said. Read more...