City of Karratha Council introduces $3 million COVID-19 support packages
31 Mar 2020
At a Special Council Meeting last night, Council endorsed a broad range of measures to support the community during this unprecedented and uncertain time.
Economic stimulus and support initiatives include:
- Establishing a network of City officers to provide one-on-one support to businesses to access advice and information regarding State, Federal and other support initiatives available
- Modifying the City's Financial Hardship (Rates Relief) Policy to provide increased access to debt write off for business and individuals
- Freezing rates and existing City fees and charges in 2020/21 (zero percent increase)
- Deferring the collection of rates from all ratepayers excluding schedule (bulk) ratepayers from August to November 2020 (three-month extension)
- Implementing opportunities to spend additional City resources on local suppliers and contractors
- Allocating up to $100,000 to implement an online portal and social media advertising campaign to encourage spending at local businesses
- Small business tenants of City properties will not be charged rent for six months
- Providing lenient and compassionate terms to City debtors
- Establishing a COVID-19 Community Group Assistance Fund
- Allocating $250,000 from the Biannual Community Grant Scheme to the COVID-19 Community Group Assistance Fund
- Providing grants of up to $25,000 per community group or organisation via the COVID-19 Community Group Assistance Fund.
The combined COVID-19 Small Business: City Support Package and COVID-19 Community: City Support Package will cost the City approximately $3 million in costs and forgone revenue.
City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long said Council took supporting ratepayers, community groups and local businesses during the global public health pandemic very seriously.
"Like the rest of the world, our community is suffering the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic so Council has taken swift action to offer assistance where possible," Cr Long said.
"Due to the City's strong financial position, we are able to provide some immediate and ongoing support and Council has acted as quickly as possible to introduce a range of measures that will be implemented immediately to provide relief to businesses and individuals experiencing crisis.
"Council understands business owner's concerns about current and future disruptions to trade and we want to offer assistance because a thriving small business sector is critical to achieving our vision to become Australai's most liveable regional city.
"We understand this is also a stressful time for individuals experiencing financial hardship so we have frozen rates and deferred collection dates to provide some breathing space to ratepayers.
"Our community and not-for-profit groups are suffering too and need help to continue operation and priovidng valuable services to our community."
The Council will consider additional support measures at next month's Ordinary Council Meeting on April 20.
Further information regarding the City's response to the COVID-19 global pandemic is available at https://karratha.wa.gov.au/coronavirus-information or by calling (08) 9186 8555.