NSW announces $395 million stimulus package to protect council-based jobs
The New South Wales Government yesterday announced a $395 million economic stimulus package to safeguard council jobs, local services and infrastructure in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Building on the NSW Government’s previous $82 million commitment to support 260 council-run childcare centres, the announcement may provide surety for services who have a strong reliance on adjunct roles within their Council for support in running their services.
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the COVID-19 crisis “has hit councils hard financially”, emphasising the NSW Government commitment to limiting the impacts of the pandemic, keeping more people in jobs, and allowing 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 is 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,” he added.
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 from the NSW Government’s ‘Jobs for NSW’ Fund to support a Council Job Retention Allowance of $1,500 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.
Shelley Hancock, NSW Minister for Local Government, said the package “safeguards valuable council jobs” and ensures staff with a wide range of skills and experience can continue to serve their communities.
The release in relation to the announcement may be viewed here.