The City of Stirling has confirmed a $43.7 million boost for households, businesses, and community as Western Australia moves into the recovery phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Economic Stimulus and Community Recovery Package, which will be a key component of the City’s 20/21 budget, outlines four key focus areas the City will invest in to help alleviate financial burdens on households, businesses and the wider community.
Mayor Mark Irwin said the package aimed to strike a balance between continuing the City’s service delivery, forging ahead with capital investment and ensuring the stimulus package was sustainable and responsible.
“While there are positive signs that Perth is beginning to come out the other side of this crisis, there have been major and sustained economic and social impacts to a significant portion of our ratepayers and we need to support them,” Mayor Irwin said.
“This package offers a way forward but we want to reassure our ratepayers Council is exercising a strong level of financial responsibility to ensure we can continue to serve the community right through the recovery phase, however long that may be.”
Primarily funded by drawing down on the City’s reserves, the City has strategically reprioritised projects to provide maximum relief for households, businesses, community health and wellbeing and to generate employment opportunities.
In addition to an annual budget review as part of requirements under the Local Government Act 1995, the City is proposing to review expenditure and outcomes of the Economic Stimulus and Community Recovery Package in October.
By ensuring the City has a financial health check in October, Council will be in a position to redirect funds as needed, depending on where support is required later in the year.
Ratepayer Financial Relief Package - $4.9M
- Rate freeze for 2020/21
- Removal of interest, instalment and arrangement fees
- Flexible payment options and suspension of debt collection activity.
Business and Activation Package - $7M
- Tenancy relief for the small businesses who lease land and/or property from the City
- Increased activation and connectedness through neighbourhood centre upgrades
- Business counselling service
- Partnerships to activate businesses
- Business mastermind program
- Holiday at Home program
- Business friendly approvals process
- Streamlining of customer processes through the Relationship Management System (RMS) implementation
- Community creativity fund
- City-run events
- Town team activation fund
- Event sponsorship
- Locally targeted activation.
Community Package - $2.9M
- Community group assistance fund
- Reduction in facility hire fees for community groups
- Community hotline for those experiencing hardship
- Jobshop services and job readiness program
- Reduction in home support and Meals on Wheels fees
- Reduction in library fees and waiving of fines
- Reduction in animal registration fees
- Sporting clubs and grants programs
- Turf curation subsidy for sporting clubs
- Waiving of rates charges for sporting clubs
- Waiving of ground fees and floodlight charges
- Financial counselling service for sporting clubs
- No reduction in permanent City staff numbers for planned services.
Capital Investment Package - $28.9M
- Acceleration of Recycling Centre Balcatta Redevelopment
- Major refurbishment of Terry Tyzack Aquatic Centre
- Upgrade of Hamersley Public Golf Course
- Park upgrades, sporting facility refurbishments and cycleways
- Focus on projects with greatest employment opportunities
- 400+ projects under $0.5M that give opportunity to small business.
The Economic Stimulus and Community Recovery package complements the $2.1M in measures already implemented as an immediate response to COVID-19, including:
- Development of a Community Services Hotline and a Small Business Hotline
- A partnership with Business Foundations to give tailored one-on-one advice
- Waiving verge permit fees and reducing bond charges
- Reducing meal fees for two months for all Home and Community Care and Commonwealth Home Support Program recipients
- A partnership with Vinnies WA to provide emergency food packages
- Welfare checks for individuals no longer able to attend social support groups and for the City’s volunteers
- Suspension of lease/rent payments of City properties.
For more COVID-19 related information, head to www.stirling.wa.gov.au/update
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