The NSW Government today announced a $395 million economic stimulus package to safeguard council jobs, and local services and infrastructure in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the COVID-19 crisis has hit councils hard financially and the NSW Government is determined to limit the impacts to keep more people in jobs and allow councils to deliver for communities across the state.
“Our state’s 128 local councils are a critical part of the NSW economy, especially in many regional and rural towns where they are sometimes the largest employer,” Mr Perrottet said.
“This about keeping people in jobs which will allow councils to continue to provide essential services in their communities throughout the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and bounce back faster once we come out the other side.”
The NSW Government’s local government economic stimulus package includes a $250 million increase in low-cost loans to eligible councils through the state’s borrowing facility provided by TCorp to kick-start community infrastructure projects.
This increase brings this low-cost loan facility up to $1.35 billion for the benefit of councils and their communities.
TCorp will also be offering principal and interest payments deferrals on existing council loans upon request for the next six months.
Other measures will include:
- up to $112.5 million to support a Council Job Retention Allowance of $1500 per fortnight per employee to limit job losses in the NSW local government sector. The allowance will be paid for up to three months to qualifying staff working in the NSW local government sector
- $32.8 million to assist councils meet the cost of the FY2020/21 increase in the Emergency Services Levy.
Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock said this comprehensive package safeguards valuable council jobs and ensures staff with a wide range of skills and experience can continue to serve their communities.
“This funding injection enables councils to redirect funds to critical core services and deliver much-needed financial support for local communities,” Mrs Hancock said.
“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.”