The COVID-19 pandemic has added further pressure to household budgets with the total number of approved applications for rates deferrals or assistance for aged, pensioner or general hardship increasing to 532 in 2019-20, according to new figures provided by Chief Minister Andrew Barr in response to an Opposition question on notice.
In 2012-13, the number of applications approved was only 15. By 2018-19, that number had risen to 131 as more Canberrans struggled with their increasing rates bills. As the latest 2019-20 figures are only to 10 June 2020, the final number is likely to be larger.
Despite more Canberrans struggling with their rates bills, Labor and the Greens voted against a Canberra Liberals motion to freeze residential rates for four years.
The Leader of the Canberra Liberals Alistair Coe said the COVID pandemic had simply rubbed salt in a gaping wound.
“For almost a decade, families have been struggling to make ends meet and Labor’s tripling of rates is simply making life even harder,” Mr Coe said.
“Canberra families cannot afford another four years of increasing rates. Only the Canberra Liberals can be trusted to reduce rates and cut cost of living pressures for all families.
“The choice this October, could not be clearer. Andrew Barr, Labor and the Greens are committed to increasing rates whereas the Canberra Liberals will deliver real savings for families.
“Our four-year rates freeze guarantee will benefit all Canberrans and help more families get ahead,” Mr Coe said.