Following the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) setting the 2021/22 rate peg at two per cent, Local Government NSW (LGNSW) president Linda Scott said “councils are focused on driving a locally-led recovery” to address hardships caused by “extended drought, bushfires, floods and COVID”.
However, the two per cent rate peg “won’t allow local governments to mitigate against the additional costs incurred following extended drought, bushfires, floods and COVID,” she said in a media release.
“It’s tough right now for everyone, and of all levels of government, councils have the strongest grassroots perspective on the job losses and economic damage.
“No council in NSW is looking to increase rates beyond what is necessary – together, we are working incredibly hard to save jobs and stimulate local economies by investing in community infrastructure projects and community services.
“Councils are focused on driving a locally-led recovery.”
The Independent asked Clarence Valley Council (CVC) to outline its recovery plan.
The council’s general manager, Ashley Lindsay, provided the minutes of three CVC meeting decisions, outlining expenditure of funding provided to CVC by government grant programs.
February 25: “Endorse the proposed expenditure plan for the $1,416,667 allocation from the Federal Government towards Recovery and Resilience Building activities following the recent Bushfire Disaster.”
March 24: “Endorse the proposed expenditure plan for the $250,000 Phase 1 allocation from the NSW State Government’s Bushfire Community Resilience and Economic Recovery Fund.”
July 21: Endorse applications for “approved donations under the 2020 Bushfire Recovery Fund to the value of $50,000 … to deliver immediate, small-scale funding to local communities that will aid community recovery following the bushfires”.
Mr Lindsay said the “reports outline [the] funding we have to support the bushfire recovery and to support us with the development of our Community Resilience and Preparedness Plan”.
“[With] part of the $1.416 million, council resolved to establish, for an 18-month fixed term duration, an emergency recovery team comprising two staff,” he said.
“Since resolving to establish the team, the state government advised it would fund a position to undertake direct recovery work as advised by the state.
“The impact of this increased the team to three.
“The team comprises a coordinator responsible for team management and development of a resilience and preparedness strategy; a project officer responsible for delivering community projects that improve preparedness, informed by an independent survey; and a dedicated community recovery officer, responsible for identifying and supporting immediate individual and community recovery needs.
“The team commenced with council in July and we will be providing councillors with an update at the October council meeting on progress to date.
“We are focused on making sure that our recovery from the bushfires and the impacts of COVID-19 is a locally led recovery.”