The NSW and Federal Governments have announced a $5.1 billion economic support package following calls for urgent financial assistance for businesses and individuals from LGNSW during the state’s latest lockdown.
LGNSW President, Linda Scott, called on NSW Premier, Glady Berejiklian, to provide an urgent support package for businesses and communities across NSW in a letter co-signed by more than 70 council mayors and general managers across the State.
“Local government is the first to feel the impact of the COVID lockdown on their communities, which is why we responded quickly with a call for financial support from our state and federal colleagues,” Cr Scott said.
“I am pleased the government responded to those calls so quickly.
“This latest outbreak of COVID threatens the locally led economic recovery councils have provided for their communities following a horrid 18 months of natural disasters.
“These efforts have not only expedited the recovery process but helped create thousands of brand-new local jobs.”
The new COVID-19 Fighting Fund, which includes $1 billion from the Federal Government, will provide a range of grants to help businesses stay afloat during lockdown and support employees who have been impacted by reduced working hours.
“This latest funding announcement shows local and state and federal governments are all on the same page when it comes to protecting the people in our communities while doing all we can to keep our economy strong,” Cr Scott said.
“Over the past 15 months councils across NSW have gone to great lengths to support their local businesses, deep cleaning public spaces, waiving regulatory and inspection fees and offering millions in grant programs to support the health and economic recovery of their communities.
Cr Scott also highlighted that the slow pace of the COVID vaccination rollout was impeding job-creation and economic recovery efforts and she reiterated local government’s offer of using council-owned buildings like town halls, childcare centres, health clinics, and libraries as mass vaccinations hubs.
“Since the start of the pandemic, councils have worked individually and with state and federal governments on a range of COVID responses, and local government stands ready to assist in ramping up vaccinations.”
She said other opportunities to expand local government’s role in administering vaccines were being overlooked because the sector has been excluded from the National Cabinet.
“All three levels of government need to be working together on lifting immunity rates so that economic recovery is not further delayed by lockdowns,” Cr Scott said.
“That means including local government in the National Cabinet so that the views and experiences of local communities are heard.
“More Australians would already be vaccinated if local government had a seat at the table of the National Cabinet as it did at COAG.”