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Help if you can’t pay council rates and charges

What are rates?

Council rates are the amounts charged to property-owners by local councils to help pay for the services provided to communities, such as building and maintaining roads and drainage systems, operating libraries and regulating planning and building activity.

Other charges may be collected by organisations that provide specific services like waste collection, water supply and sewerage on behalf of the council.

What should you do if you’re having difficulties paying your council rates?

If you’re concerned about your ability to pay your council rates, contact your council or the service provider as soon as possible. 

Many local councils have hardship programs that offer assistance to ratepayers. Enquire about payment options that might be available including:

  • Paying in instalments
  • Paying part or all of your rates at a later date
  • Waiving interest on overdue rates
  • Reducing your rates if revaluation of your land made your rates go up and caused you financial hardship.

Council rates are an important bill to pay. If you don’t pay your rates, the council can take legal action to recover them. The National Debt Helpline's Council Rates page provides a helpful step-by-step guide if you’re having trouble paying your council rates.

Find out more about rebates and concessions

Your council may also be able to provide current information about any government concessions and rebates available to pensioners and concession card holders.  Or you could refer to your state or territory website below for more information and how to apply:

Need help to manage your debt?

The National Debt Helpline can help you get back on track. Call 1800 007 007 (weekdays 9.30am to 4.30pm, Sydney time) or live chat (weekdays 9am to 8pm, Sydney time) from anywhere in Australia to talk to a free and independent financial counsellor.


Things you should know

This information is general in nature and has been prepared without taking your objectives, needs and overall financial situation into account. For this reason, you should consider the appropriateness for the information to your own circumstances and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.

© Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 233714.