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Intro

LG Alert

As you would be aware, the Local Government Amendment (COVID-19 Response) Act 2020 came into effect on 21 April 2020 and introduced several measures to assist with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including some modifications to the budgetary process for 2020-21.

The financial hardship measures introduced to protect Western Australian ratepayers hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic will be extended into the 2021-22 financial year.

This includes the provisions that relate to interest on money owing and options for payment. The maximum rate of interest that can be applied will be further reduced to 7 per cent, which is based on the Australian Tax Office general interest charge. Further advice will be provided once the Ministerial Order has been gazetted.

For all other provisions, as the Order applied only to 2020-21, local governments should be preparing their upcoming budget in accordance with the ordinary provisions of the Local Government Act 1995 and all relevant legislation.

This means that a local government seeking to impose differential rates under section 6.33(3) and/or impose minimum payments under section 6.35, that require Ministerial approval, will need to obtain such approval prior to adopting the budget.

For local governments needing to apply for Ministerial approval, the relevant policies and application forms are on the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries’ website.

For broader information regarding the local government budgeting process, the department has a factsheet with a timeline for developing the budget and when there is a need to ensure legislative compliance.

If you have any questions regarding rates setting and the application process, please contact the department at legislation@dlgsc.wa.gov.au

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Page reviewed 07 September 2021