Local Government NSW (LGNSW) has called on the State Government to provide urgent support for businesses and individuals who may be at financial risk amid the state’s current COVID-19 lockdowns.
LGNSW President, Linda Scott, said she had written to the Premier in a letter co-signed by a significant number of Mayors that were deeply concerned about the impacts of the latest lockdown on their recovering economies.
“We greatly appreciate the leadership the NSW Government has provided through this pandemic thus far, and local government shares that commitment to ensure the ongoing safety of the people of our state,” Ms Scott said.
“However, our economic recovery stands on a knife’s edge.
“This latest lockdown threatens local government’s tireless efforts to provide a locally led economic recovery – efforts that have not only been instrumental in driving a rapid comeback, but have created thousands of jobs and have the potential to support the creation of many more.
“Mayors in the Greater Sydney area, whose communities are directly affected by stay-at-home orders, are worried about the impacts on their local businesses and their employees, especially following the end of the Federal JobKeeper program.
“Many regional councils are also facing significant challenges, especially border communities that are impacted by border closures and restricted movements.
“All of this is compounded by the timing of this latest outbreak, the traditionally busy school holiday period that brings an important economic boost to tourism businesses and regional economies.
“A lot of people are going to be hurting right now and the NSW Government must act quickly to minimise the impacts.
“We welcome the Government‘s announcements of funding grants of up to $10,000 for small businesses, payroll tax deferrals and extensions of the Dine and Discover program to the end of August, but that alone will not be enough to reverse the overall economic effects of the current lockdown.”
Ms Scott said councils had been at the frontline of supporting their communities through the COVID crisis.
“Over the past 15 months councils have gone to great lengths to support local businesses, deep cleaning public spaces, waiving regulatory and inspections fees and offering millions of dollars in grant programs to support the health and economic recovery of their communities,” Ms Scott said.
“LGNSW has been able to help secure more than $3 billion Federal and State support for local governments to fast track local projects that strengthen local resilience and keep the local economy going.
“Our State and Federal colleagues are to be commended for recognising the importance of supporting the local government sector, and their partnership through funding support has been key to recovery thus far.
“However, this latest outbreak and subsequent lockdown and accompanying border closures threaten to set all that back, and we are calling on the NSW and Australian governments to provide the further assistance necessary to ensure NSW’s economic recovery continues.”