COVIDSafe settings now apply across Victoria

For information on changes to Council services and links to the latest Victorian Government COVID-19 information visit our COVID-19 help hub. COVID-19 help hub >

Council’s Community and Business Support Package: COVID-19

  • This package includes initiatives to help community members and businesses to cope with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, in what is a stressful and challenging time for everyone.
  • Phase 4 of Council’s $1.6 million Community and Business Support Package (released August 2020) features specific measures to reduce financial pressures on ratepayers, community groups, sporting clubs and businesses.
  • Support measures included in all phases of the package are outlined on this page.
  • Our COVID-19 Online Help Hub features information on support available for individuals and households, support available for businesses, how to protect yourself and others, family violence support and looking after your mental health.  
  • We are also advocating to the Victorian and Australian governments for more ongoing support.

In addition to the measures listed below, a further extension is being made to the interest-free period for unpaid rates payments until 30 June 2021. (Was previously extended to 31 March 2021). 

  • Provision of a once-off payment to neighbourhood houses, senior citizens’ centres and U3As to the value of 15% of their annual allocation for the 2020–21 financial year.
  • Provision of a once-off payment to Emerald Museum, in addition to their regular annual maintenance grant.
  • Emergency 100% rental waivers for eligible tenants of Council-owned buildings for the period 29 March to 30 June 2020, plus a 50% rental waiver for the period 1 July to 29 September 2020.
  • Financial support towards utility bills and cleaning expenses, where necessary, for Section 86 Committees who manage community halls.
  • Hire fee waivers for community and not-for-profit users of Council’s integrated child and family centres who have an annual booking agreement with Council for the period 1 July 2020 to 1 February 2021.
  • Waiver of tenancy fees for 6 months on all Council-owned and managed sporting facilities. (From 1 April – 30 September 2020).
  • Financial support for sporting club and recreation reserve committees of management having trouble paying utility bills (from 1 April – 30 September 2020).
  • A temporary freeze on all debt repayments for sporting club and recreation reserve committees of management until 31 March 2021.

In addition to the measures listed below:

  • A full refund of all 2020 Food Act and Public Health and Wellbeing Act registration fees, for businesses impacted by mandatory closures of premises, or mandatory changes to the operations of their businesses.
  • A full refund of all 2020–21 street trading permit fees, where outdoor dining is no longer allowed.

This phase features Relief Provider Support Grants for local agencies and groups providing relief servicesCommunity Connection Grants for community groups to strengthen community connections, and a Recovery Program to further support recovery activities within the community beyond the pandemic. 

Community Relief Provider Support Grants   Community Connection Grants

  • The due date for paying the 4th rates instalment has been automatically extended for all rateable properties from 1 June 2020 to 30 June 2020.
  • If you pay your rates by FlexiPay, please contact us on 1300 787 624 to request a change to your payment schedule.

All interest on outstanding rates payments will be automatically suspended until 30 September, 2020.

  • Eligible Health Care Card holders can apply for a $50 rebate on 2020-21 rates for their residential property (including vacant residential land).
  • This offer is not available to ratepayers that hold an eligible Pensioner Concession Card and already receive the Municipal Rates Concession as per the State Concessions Act 2004 and S171(1)(a) of the Local Government Act 1989.
  • This rebate can only be claimed for one property.
  • Where possible, the rebate will be applied before the 2020–21 annual rates notice is issued (in mid-August) so it can be spread equally over all 4 instalments and displayed as a separate line/transaction item on the rates notice. All applications after this time will be processed and credited equally over the remaining instalments.

Eligibility criteria

The ratepayer must hold one of the following cards issued by Services Australia or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs:

  • Health Care Card
  • Low Income Health Care Card
  • Ex Carer Allowance (Child) Health Care Card
  • Foster Child Health Care Card
  • Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
  • Veteran Card - White, Gold or Orange (and not already receiving the Municipal Rates Concession). 

Please note that: 

  • the ratepayer’s name must be on the rates account as either owner or life tenant. 
  • the ratepayer must be responsible for paying the rates account
  • the name on the rates account must match the one on the eligible card.

What you need to provide with your application

  • Full name
  • Rateable property address
  • Contact details
  • Customer Reference Number (CRN)
  • A photo of the eligible concession card.


Apply online – COVID-19 rate rebate application form

We understand that businesses need to diversify in the current economic climate.

With this in mind, we are:  

  • seeking more flexible planning approvals from the Victorian Government.
  • giving assistance to existing businesses wanting to diversify
  • fast tracking ‘change of use’ applications for businesses
  • putting extra resources towards assessing applications.

Council is implementing the following support packages for small businesses:

a) 3 month (25%) rebate on fees for Food Act and Public Health and Wellbeing Act registrations for businesses impacted by mandatory closures of premises, or mandatory changes to the operations of their businesses

b) 3 month (25%) rebate on street trading permits, where outdoor dining is no longer allowed.

c) 3 months’ rent deferral to commercial tenants of Council-owned buildings who have been disrupted by COVID-19 - call us on 1300 787 624 to discuss

d) Extension of Council’s hardship policy to property rates on commercial properties.


We are offering commercial tenants in Council buildings who have been affected by COVID-19 up to 3 months deferral on their current rental, with no interest on any outstanding payments in that time. 

To access this deferral: Contact our Property team on 1300 787 624 or

  • We are accepting animal registration renewal payments up until 30 June 2020 without penalty. (This has been extended from 10 April). 
  • Pet owners may also be entitled to concession rates for renewal.

More info: Register your pet or renew its registration

Our Economic Development team is providing a central contact point to help businesses get the information they need and to help them navigate through information, permit and registration processes.

Call the team on 1300 787 624

We are developing a 'Shop Local Business' campaign in partnership with Star News Group to encourage the community get behind local businesses and promote the innovative ways businesses are adapting. 

We'll be making payments more quickly to our suppliers and contractors wherever possible. 

As part of its efforts to keep money circulating in the local economy and work flowing for the construction and related industries, council will be exploring ways to accelerate programmed maintenance and other works in a number of its facilities while they are closed as a result of complying with public health directions.

We’d be happy to help you with your enquiries. Call us on 1300 787 624.