Jobs, service and infrastructure delivery will be safeguarded under a $395 million economic stimulus package to reduce the impacts of COVID-19 on local communities across NSW.
Baulkham Hills State Liberal MP David Elliott said staff at The Hills Shire Council and City of Parramatta can now access a State-funded Council Job Retention Allowance of $1,500 per fortnight if their employment is impacted by COVID-19.
“Our local council is a critical part of the local economy and it has been hit hard financially by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr Elliott said.
“As council staff were not eligible for the Commonwealth JobKeeper Payment, the NSW Government is providing $112.5 million to fund a Council Job Retention Allowance of $1,500 per fortnight for three months for qualifying staff working in the NSW local government sector.
“Qualifying staff at The Hills Shire Council and City of Parramatta will now be able to access the allowance which will not only safeguard valuable local jobs but ensure council staff with a wide range of skills are retained to continue to serve our community.”
Mr Elliott said the local government stimulus package also includes $32.76 million to fund the increase in the emergency services levy for all NSW councils for 2020-21.
“This funding injection will allow The Hills Shire Council and City of Parramatta to redirect funds to critical core services and deliver financial support for the local community,” Mr Elliott said.
The Hills Shire Council and City of Parramatta will also be able to benefit from low-cost loans to fund community infrastructure, with the Government boosting the TCorp local government lending facility by a further $250 million.
“TCorp, the State’s borrowing facility, has so far provided $677 million in low-interest finance to NSW councils to fund much-needed infrastructure for local communities,” Mr Elliott said.
TCorp will also be offering principal and interest payments deferrals on existing council loans upon request for the next six months.
Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock said the comprehensive COVID-19 stimulus package will safeguard council jobs, boost service and infrastructure delivery, and trigger economic recovery in local communities across the State.
“Importantly, this package builds on the NSW Government’s $82 million to support 260 council-run childcare centres and $25 million for local councils to rebuild and refurbish local showgrounds, bringing our total support for the local government sector to over half a billion dollars,” Mrs Hancock said.
“The Government is determined to limit the impacts of COVID-19 on local councils so they can continue to deliver for their local communities.”