This document describes our policy for customers in hardship.
Our Customer Charter commits us to a goal of becoming a more customer-focused organisation. The intent of this policy is to ensure that if you're a customer experiencing hardship, you are treated fairly and with respect and in a manner consistent with our Charter.
This policy applies if you're experiencing economic hardship, including as a result of domestic violence or when you have been affected by a natural disaster. This policy also applies if you're considered vulnerable due to a mental illness, an intellectual disability or cognitive impairment, if you're homeless, or if you have a serious addiction to drugs, alcohol or volatile substances.
We'll attempt to identify when these circumstances exist as early as possible, and you can generally make an application relating to hardship as soon as you have a debt with us.
We provide flexible payment options if you're experiencing financial difficulties, whether it's a short-term issue or an ongoing problem.
Generally, we'll allow you to enter into a payment arrangement, such as paying your debts on a weekly or fortnightly basis, as long as any payment arrangement is reasonable with regard to your circumstances.
For more information on applying for a payment arrangement, see below
You, or someone you have authorised to act on your behalf, may apply for relief from an obligation or requirement – such as paying a tax or fine debt administrated by us – because you're suffering hardship.
Hardship may be established:
In the most serious cases, you may be able to have your unpaid debt written off. This means you wouldn't have to pay any more money to your debt. You may have to abide by conditions, such as having no further debts within a set period of time.
In other cases, you might be allowed to:
If you’re application relating to hardship is unsuccessful, you can apply to the Hardship Review Board. The Hardship Review Board looks at cases independently and can over-rule a decision made by us.
Our staff receive ongoing training on how best to respond to your needs. All customers should expect to be treated with dignity and respect. Read more about our commitment to you.
This policy is a living document, meaning that our Hardship Policy and our programs are continuously being reviewed and revised to ensure that they remain relevant and useful to you.
Confidentiality and privacy
Any contact (phone, email, face-to-face) you have with any staff member regarding your circumstances will remain confidential. We'll not share information unless directed or authorised by law.
Find out if you're eligible for a work and development order
If you want to appeal our decision, visit the Hardship Review Board
Contact us on 1300 368 710 (taxes) or 1300 655 805 (fines and fees) to discuss your situation. We have staff who receive training in identifying and responding to your specific needs under this policy.