Media Release-Community Care & Recovery Package for George Town Municipality
30 Apr 2020
George Town Council is pleased to announce that their Community Care and Recovery Package was unanimously passed in yesterday’s Council Meeting. The package is Councils response to the significant economic impacts the Covid 19 pandemic has or will have on residents, the community and businesses in the George Town municipality.
George Town Council Mayor, Greg Kieser said “The package is a ten point plan that is expected to assist and stimulate economic growth and offer community assistance to help our municipality return to normal as quickly as possible.”
The key areas that have been identified that will help underpin George Town’s recovery in the Care and Recovery Package are:
- Rates Financial Hardship Policy has been designed to assist those rate payers who are experiencing significant hardship, by deferring rates and charges or the suspension of interest and penalties.
- Zero increase to general rates for the 2020-21 financial year. Estimated cost $195K
- Zero increase to fees and charges for the 2020-21 financial year. These includes property development, health fees, animal licences, cemetery fees, tip fees, recreation grounds and buildings. Estimated Cost $14.5K
- Food Licence fee relief for businesses, community groups and sporting clubs that operate as a food business in the 2020-21 financial year. Estimated Cost $9K
- Nil Charge to Community users of Council facilities - available to community members and user groups for a period of 6 months to 31 December 2020. Estimated Cost $6K
- 50% Reduction in Development Fees and Charges for 12 months (this excluded Building Surveying charges and state government charges, such as the training and Building levies) Estimated Cost $70K
- Introduction of additional Grant Programs
- Event Recovery – Estimated funding allocation $26K
- Lifestyle Recovery – Estimated funding allocation $20K
- Small Business – Estimated Funding allocation $50K
- Re-direction of funding from existing services to deliver a range of community assistance initiatives, to support the more vulnerable members of our community
- Circular Economy
- Immediate Response Initiatives not budgeted and have already been implemented as part of the Council’s duty of care to a crisis response Estimated Cost $55K
From the outset George Town Council was proactive in implementing some targeted initiatives as the Coronavirus- Covid 19 crisis unveiled itself around the world.
- Covid-19 Financial Hardship Policy. The policy provides ratepayers who experience financial hardship due to COVID-19, an avenue to request rate relief.
- Significant increase in communications material relating to COVID-19 (advice on appropriate hygiene, social distancing, access to information), through print, sign posting, electronic boards, local radio, social media channels and Council’s website. Also place-based locations such as parks and public facilities.
- Healthy Speak a five piece podcast program designed to assist in maintaining mental health and family violence for the community during social isolation.
- Transition of Healthy George Town programs to online streaming, designed to assist in maintaining physical health of community members during social isolation.
- In partnership with TEMCO South 32 (including financial contribution) Walker Designs and KEEN Partners, Council developed a Kids Activity Portal comprising a range of activities designed to engage, entertain and education children of all ages.
- In partnership with KEEN Partners, Council has employed a small number of displaced workers due to Covid 19 on a temporary basis.
- In partnership with TEMCO South 32 (including financial contribution) and local schools, Council has procured and distributed board games to disadvantaged families.
- Council has also implemented a number of measures to ensure the safety of community, elected members and staff, including closure of some public spaces, playgrounds and facilities, and the introduction of social distancing practices such as video conferencing and alternating rostering of staff.
- An internal COVID Crisis Committee has been established since the state declaration and meets daily to assess required responses to a rapidly changing situation.
“It is a testament to our Council that we have been able to action and implement some wonderful projects that support our community through these unprecedented times. We will be working hard to release more information as soon as possible regarding our Community Care and Recovery Package in the coming weeks as we begin to implement our action plan” the Mayor said.
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