The ACT Government is taking a range of actions and providing practical support, such as rebates and the freezing of some government fees to reduce pressure on household budgets.
The usual annual increase will not be applied to 2020-21 general rates bills. This combined with a $150 rebate to the fixed charge component of all 2020-21 residential rates bills means average residential general rates will not increase.
Rates will reduce for around two-thirds of homeowners. Some homeowners will notice an increase due to their land value going up.
The government has also
- Frozen the Fire and Emergency Services Levy in 2020-21 at the current 2019-20 level; and
- Delayed issuing 2019-20 quarter four residential general instalments and land tax assessments by four weeks, payable one month after issue.
- Delayed issuing 2020-21 quarter one residential general instalments and land tax assessments by three weeks, payable one month after issue.
For more information on the delay of 2020-21 quarter one residential rates please visit the ACT Revenue Office website.
You do not need to apply for these changes to take effect.
Hardship rates deferral arrangements
The ACT Revenue Office will implement a new process for rates deferrals for owner occupiers experiencing hardship because of COVID-19. No interest will apply to the deferred amount.
The deferral will be for 12 months where household income has been significantly (at least 25%) reduced by circumstances such as:
- reduction in hours of work; or
- a loss of small business income.
Eligibility criteria will include income testing (household incomes less than $160,000 before tax).
The ACT Government will reprioritise existing resources and provide any additional resources to the ACT Revenue Office to ensure quick and timely responses are provided to households seeking COVID-19 hardship support.
Residential tenancy relief
The Government is providing land tax and rates rebates to landlords of residential properties who reduce rents by at least 25 per cent for tenants impacted by COVID-19.
The rebate will be equal to 50 per cent of the rent reduction, capped at $1,300 per quarter (around $100 per week), until December 2020. This will provide rental relief to impacted tenants of up to $200 per week.
The Government has also made a number of changes to residential tenancy laws in response to COVID-19. For more information on these changes go to the Justice and Community Safety website.
Stamp duty concessions for owner-occupiers
The ACT Government is offering stamp duty concessions in the ACT for some home buyers planning to live in their new property.
The following concessions will apply to contracts exchanged between 4 June 2020 and 30 June 2021:
- No stamp duty on single residential dwelling blocks
- No stamp duty on off-the-plan unit (unit-titled apartment and townhouses) purchases up to $500,000
- An $11,400 stamp duty reduction for off-the-plan unit (unit-titled apartment and townhouses purchases between $500,000 and $750,000
Eligible new homeowners will be identified as part of the settlement process.
For further information visit the ACT Revenue Office website.
Government fees and charges
All 2020-21 vehicle registration, parking and public transport fee increases at the current levels.
More 2020-21 fees have been frozen at current levels, find out more on the Supporting local businesses and the economy page.
Household utilities and concessions
Households already receiving the Utilities Concession will receive an additional $200 rebate through their electricity bill.
This includes: Centrelink Pensioner Concession Card holders, Centrelink Low Income Health Care Card holders and Veteran’s Affairs Pensioner Concession Card or Gold Card holders.
This will be automatically applied to the next electricity bill in June or July 2020. You do not need to contact your electricity supplier.
The government will also contribute up to $250,000 to a new fund to assist households severely impacted by COVID-19.
Details on how the fund will operate will be determined in consultation with electricity retailers, who will asked to make a co-contribution in order to access the fund.
Asylum seeker concession
The utilities concession is extended to eligible asylum seekers for 2020-21. Asylum seekers with a valid ACT Services Access Card can apply by 30 June 2021 for a $900 rebate on their electricity bills for 2020-21. This includes the annual $700 utilities concession and additional one-off $200 rebate.
Visit the ACT Revenue Office website to find out how to apply.
Utilities Network Facilities Tax
The government will freeze the Utilities Network Facilities Tax (UNFT) at the current level. The UNFT is paid by utility providers and applies to any network facility on land in the ACT, including networks for transmitting and distributing electricity, gas, sewage, water and telecommunications.
Freezing the UNFT will enable utility providers to pass on savings to customers and support improved hardship measures for ACT customers.
Hardship Isolation Payment
Casual and part-time workers have been among the hardest hit with widespread unemployment across a range of sectors.
A COVID-19 Hardship Isolation Payment for workers experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic has been created to support Canberrans who are unable to temporarily work under a COVID-19 direction or health guidance.
Workers will be eligible payments of up to $1,500 depending on an individual’s circumstances (such as available sick leave through their employer).
For more information on the initiative, including eligibility and how to apply, please read the COVID-19 Hardship Isolation Payment Guidelines.
If you believe you meet the eligibility requirements please complete the application form on the Access Canberra website.