Councils receive financial boost to fight COVID-19 pressure
LISMORE City Council has welcomed a financial injection from the NSW Government to assist with the pressures of COVID-19.
The government has announced it will provide a $395 million economic stimulus package for local councils across the state.
Councils will have access to:
● A three-month Council Job Retention Allowance of $1500 per fortnight per qualifying staff, to limit job losses.
● $32.8 million to help councils meet increases in the 2020/21 Emergency Services Levy.
● A $250 million increase in low-cost loans to eligible councils through the State's TCorp borrowing facility, to kickstart community infrastructure projects.
TCorp will also be offering principal and interest payments deferrals on existing council loans upon request for the next six months.
Lismore mayor Isaac Smith said the economic package was "tremendous" and much needed, after the council last week wrote to the state government urging them to provide financial support during the pandemic.
"It's a fantastic to see support for councils from the NSW Government," Cr Smith said.
"We were the only sector in the country that didn't receive support.
"So, the fact the state government has done this is tremendous."
He said the funding will be used to ensure staff can be supported during this difficult time.
Meanwhile, Local Government NSW (LGNSW) President Linda Scott said the $395 million economic stimulus package would drive economic recovery in every corner of NSW, and save essential services.
Cr Scott said LGNSW had been in steady and constant liaison with the Federal and NSW governments on the need for financial stimulus and assistance to local government in the wake of COVID-19.
"Councils are such important local employers across NSW," she said.
"In regional and rural NSW councils are often the largest employer in town.
"This funding will ensure tens of thousands of people who make up our invaluable local government workforce will continue to be employed, delivering essential services such as street cleansing, providing support to communities and small businesses, especially those most vulnerable during this pandemic."