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We have a financial hardship policy to help vulnerable customers find appropriate payment solutions that are effective and sustainable and ensure our business is accessible and inclusive to all members of the community.

Financial Hardship Policy

We understand customers experiencing financial hardship may find it difficult to pay their account for many reasons, but regardless of their circumstances, all customers will be treated with fairness and compassion. We do our best to work with our customers to find an appropriate, realistic, and effective payment solution. 


This policy outlines the minimum standards Water Corporation (“our”, “we” or “us”) will apply to assist a residential customer (“you”) who does not have the capacity to pay their account due to financial hardship. 

We understand these situations can be stressful. This policy outlines the minimum standards Water Corporation (we/us) will follow to assist you, a residential customer (you), who is experiencing financial hardship and unable to make your current payment. 

The policy provides guidance to employees, customers, and stakeholders. If you are experiencing financial hardship our main aim is to ensure: 

  • You engage early to identify hardship.
  • You are treated with fairness, integrity and confidentiality and your personal information is kept confidential.
  • You will be provided with a range of flexible options tailored to meet your individual needs.
  • You will receive assistance and are encouraged to proactively manage your account.
  • You will receive the most appropriate solution to meet your needs once contacting Water Corporation directly or via a financial counsellor.
  • You are provided with information and advice on concession eligibility, water efficiency and the relevant support programs available; and once you’ve engaged with us, you are protected from additional overdue debt actions such as supply restriction, referral to mercantile agents, legal action and associated costs. 

This policy reinforces our commitment to manage overdue bills effectively and aligns with our social responsibility.

Being in financial hardship can be difficult, and we understand that. We will work toward finding a solution that will help with your account, keep your water flowing and pay for what you use.

This policy applies to property owners who are responsible for all water charges. If you are a tenant that needs our help with water bills, the property owner needs to authorise you to receive your own water use bills directly.

The policy does not apply to non-residential customers, though we encourage any customer experiencing financial hardship to contact us as soon as possible to explore payment options. 


A “customer” is defined as a person to whom water services are provided by Water Corporation or who is entitled to the provision of water services by Water Corporation, being –

    1. an owner of the land in respect of which the water services are provided; or
    2. an occupier of the land in respect of which the water services are provided

Financial Liability

Under Section 126 of the Water Services Act 2012, the land owner is liable for all charges.


Hardship Utility Grant Scheme is a State Government scheme that assists Western Australian utility customers who are in financial hardship and are unable to pay their utility bills. 

Financial hardship

An ongoing state of financial disadvantage in which the ability of a customer who is a residential customer to meet the basic living needs of the customer or a dependant of the customer would be adversely affected if the customer were to pay an unpaid bill.

Payment difficulties

A state of financial disadvantage that is not likely to be ongoing in which the customer is unable to pay an unpaid bill

This policy complies with the Water Services Code of Conduct (Customer Service Standards) 2018.

The Water Services Code of Conduct Clause 29 requires that the Water Corporation:

  • must have a written policy in relation to financial hardship which is approved by the Authority
  • the financial hardship policy must be publicly available.

What is financial hardship?

You are considered to be in financial hardship if paying your water account will affect your ability to meet your basic living needs. In short, if you have the intention but not the financial capacity to pay. 
Financial hardship may be caused by: 

  • insufficient income of loss of your (or family member’s) primary income
  • separation or divorce from your partner
  • loss of a partner or loved-one 
  • family or domestic violence 
  • physical or mental health problems 
  • a chronic medical condition 
  • budget management difficulties because of a low income 
  • natural disaster such a bushfire, flood, or cyclone 
  • other unforeseen factors affecting your capacity to pay, such as an increase in non-discretionary spending. 

Temporary financial hardship

Life can be unpredictable, and sometimes bills become difficult to manage. If you’re facing temporary financial difficulties due to change in circumstances, we can help. We offer flexible payment options to support with paying your bill.  

If you think you may be experiencing financial hardship or are having difficulty paying your account, we encourage you to contact us as soon as possible. If you have been assessed by a financial counsellor, they can contact us on your behalf.

The following are considered when determining financial hardship:

  • The customer requests information about alternative payment arrangements.
  • The customer's payment history indicates they have had difficulty paying accounts in the past.
  • The customer has had a change of circumstances that adversely affects their finances.
  • Eligibility for Government funded concessions.
  • The customer is eligible or has previously applied (successfully or unsuccessfully) for the Government funded Hardship Utilities Grant Scheme (HUGS).
  • Advice has been received from a financial counsellor.
  • Total income after tax (take home pay).
  • The number of children or dependants involved.
  • Current financial commitments including any existing debt.
  • Medical conditions or disability impacting earning capacity.
  • Family or domestic  violence. 

Although the above list displays indicators of possible hardship, each customer is treated with sensitivity and understanding according to their individual circumstance. 

We will assess your financial hardship request within five business days and let you know our decision. If we cannot make our assessment in five business days, we will refer you to a financial counsellor for assessment. 

Following your financial counselling assessment, we will consider any information provided by you and your financial counsellor including your payment history. This will assist to determine eligibility for our Financial Care programs and we will advise you of the outcome. 

All your information is treated as confidential and is subject to our privacy provisions, as described in our Privacy Policy

We actively support customers affected by family violence. Our Family Violence Policy is in place to ensure the community is safe and supported. We understand the traumatic nature of family violence and want our customers to know they will be heard and treated with compassion. Be assured: 

• Our employees are trained on how to respond and offer support. 
• A family violence support officer will be appointed to ensure that you only need to tell us once, and all account, personal information and interactions are restricted to maintain your confidentiality.
• Information about support networks and access to financial hardship programs will be offered.
• Recovery action will not be taken on unpaid accounts. 

We will offer you more time to pay your account or have you enter a payment arrangement. A payment arrangement is an agreement between you and us where we agree to receive a certain amount of money in regular instalments over an agreed timeframe. We don't charge any fees or interest as part of your extension or payment arrangement. 
When setting the conditions of the payment arrangement, we will involve you and your financial counsellor and consider how much you can afford to pay, and, if relevant, your water consumption history. 

We will review and revise your payment arrangement where appropriate. If our review indicates, you are unable to meet your obligations under the arrangement, it will be revised. 

If you do not adhere to the conditions of the payment arrangement, we will make reasonable efforts to support you before taking further action. 


Tenants need the property owner to contact us first to give their consent. You can then contact us directly to discuss options when experiencing payment difficulties. We can also provide you with assistance and information on ways to manage future water use bills.


On request we will issue water use bills to either your nominated property manager or tenant. By authorising a tenant to receive water use bills, you also authorise us to discuss matters in relation to the water use bills directly with them. This does not affect your liability for the charges. Where the water use bill is sent to anyone other than the owner and remains unpaid, formal recovery action will commence against the owner. If you are having payment difficulties or financial hardship, please contact us to discuss solutions If your tenant is registered to receive water use bills and contacts us to request assistance with water use charges, we will refer them to you for your consent. If you’re aware your tenant is experiencing payment difficulties or financial hardship, we encourage you to suggest they contact us to discuss payment options.

If you are experiencing financial hardship, we will consider reducing the amount you owe to us. In addition, we will not commence or continue proceedings to recover your debt: 

  • while we are assessing if you are experiencing financial hardship or payment difficulties 
  • if you are complying with your payment arrangement or another arrangement you have with us
  • you have made a complaint to Water Corporation or the Energy and Water Ombudsman.

If you do not maintain your payment arrangement or other arrangements, we may commence debt recovery proceedings. When collecting your debt, we will comply with Part two of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) debt collection guidelines for collectors and creditors. 
We may partner with a debt collection agency if debt remains outstanding. Additional fees may apply in this case. 

Prior to referring your account to a debt collection agency, we will proactively contact you to discuss your individual circumstance. 

We will not reduce the rate of flow of your supply of drinking water in the following cases: 

  • while we are assessing your financial hardship request or 
  • if you have been identified by us as experiencing payment difficulties or financial hardship and you are complying with your payment arrangement or another arrangement you have with us 
  • if we restrict the supply of water to you, we will provide a flow sufficient for health and hygiene purposes.

We will restore the water supply when: 

  • the amount owing is paid or 
  • you enter into a mutually agreed payment arrangement.

We will not cut off the water supply to an occupied residence. 

Concessions – you may be eligible for a concession if you hold a Pensioner or State Concession Card, Commonwealth Seniors Health Card with a WA Seniors Card. For further information on eligibility criteria visit . 

Financial Care – our Financial Care suite of programs is designed for customers in financial hardship who require a greater level of assistance. For a comprehensive list of benefits and eligibility criteria visit

Financial counsellors provide confidential and independent information, support and advocacy at no confidential and independent information, support and advocacy at no cost to help you take control of your financial situation. We can refer you to a financial counsellor in your area or you can make direct contact by visiting to locate your nearest financial counsellor. If you are unable to visit a face-to-face financial counsellor in person, you can call the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007

Financial relief – the Hardship Utility Grants Scheme (HUGS) assists Western Australian utility customers who are in financial hardship and are unable to pay their utility bills. The purpose of HUGS is to assist customers in financial hardship with their connection to essential services. HUGS is only available to owner occupiers of residential properties. Tenants are not eligible for HUGS to pay outstanding water consumption charges. For eligibility criteria please contact us. 

Payment options – you may pay your bill by Centrepay, internet, direct debit, telephone, mail or POST Billpay. Centrepay is only available to customers who receive Centrelink payments. Paying by Centrepay may help you manage your bills more easily, as your bills will be paid via regular deductions. For more information on payment methods please refer to your bill or visit 
Redirection of bills – you can nominate to have your bill redirected at no charge to a third party or an alternative postal address 
WA Connect - a directory of community service providers managed by the DropIN team at the Western Australian Council of Social Service (WACOSS). It contains real time search results of emergency relief services, with phone numbers, operating hours, and directions on the services available. Users can search for food relief, financial counsellors, and emergency accommodation, among other services, and get a list of services that can provide assistance in the location that is convenient. WA Connect is a free directory for service providers, and people looking for assistance. Visit 

Training of employees – Our team are dedicated to providing support with sensitivity and understanding. They are assessed for competency in relation to: 

  • the range of payment options and methods available
  • this Financial Hardship Policy, procedures and work instructions
  • government funded concession entitlements
  • government and community programs/services
  • privacy requirements.

To ensure the desired standard is maintained, team performance is assessed through the monitoring of interactions. Team members who case manage individuals experiencing financial hardship have comprehensive training (including around social and community issues) to improve their understanding of situations that affect people in financial hardship. In addition: 

  • We engage with stakeholders in the development and review of training programs. 
  • We provide training to new staff and schedule refresher courses where appropriate. 

The Head of Customer Billing Operations is responsible for the strategic direction, operation and management of our Financial Hardship Policy and associated programs, including monitoring the effectiveness of the policy. All employees who assist customers having financial difficulties are required to be aware of this policy and the options available to assist them.