Canada Bay calls for COVID-19 support for Local Government
Thu, 30/04/2020 - 16:37

The City of Canada Bay’s Mayor Angelo Tsirekas has made a plea for urgent financial assistance from Federal and State governments amidst the COVID–19 crisis.

“The City of Canada Bay is being hit hard by the financial impacts of COVID–19. We are facing increased costs alongside once in a lifetime declines in revenue,” City of Canada Bay Mayor Angelo Tsirekas said.

The extent of the impact of COVID–19 on the City of Canada Bay’s revenue has been conservatively estimated at a loss of $4 million for the three months to July 2020.

“The impacts are rapidly escalating and we need urgent financial assistance from Federal and State governments to maintain infrastructure, services and employment as well as funding for the capacity to provide hardship assistance to the community,” City of Canada Bay Mayor Angelo Tsirekas said.

“Whilst I applaud the NSW State Government for announcing a package of assistance late last week, we are calling for further State support and more importantly Federal assistance to deliver comprehensive financial support and stimulus packages to Local Government to enable us to continue to operate effectively and provide essential services during the COVID–19 pandemic.”

The City of Canada Bay’s call for assistance adds a voice to the campaign coordinated by Local Government NSW (LGNSW) and the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA).

The LGNSW campaign has called for a financial assistance that would be effective and simple to implement, including:

  • Increasing Financial Assistance Grants payments to 1% to help Councils maintain essential functions and services, acknowledging the increased costs and mounting revenue losses arising from COVID-19 (and drought and bushfire where affected), as well as giving Councils capacity to provide hardship assistance to businesses and residents.
  • Immediate financial assistance to support Council employees, especially in early education and care.
  • Providing stimulus funding to Councils for projects that will help sustain Council operations and boost local economies. This could be achieved through increasing or bringing forward funding under existing funding programs or introducing new programs. Existing Federal funding programs include the Roads to Recovery, Bridges Renewal and Road Safety Blackspots programs. State programs include Fixing Local Roads, Fixing Country Bridges and the Stronger Country Communities programs.
  • Increased access to TAFE, VET and other apprenticeship opportunities that Council staff can undertake to address skill shortages, especially for staff in non-essential services who are unable to be redeployed.

“The City of Canada Bay is doing everything possible to provide support and deliver the services needed to protect community health and keep our communities running during these difficult times,” Mayor Tsirekas said.

“The wellbeing, safety and livelihoods of our communities, customers, and staff is our top priority. However, if additional assistance is not provided, Council may be forced to cut costs ranging from services and infrastructure to maintenance.”

“It is critical that the Local Government sector receives adequate funding and resources to coordinate and deliver the goods and services needed as we navigate through, and recover from, natural disasters and the new challenges presented by COVID–19 and its massive impacts on people and our local economy.”