Wingecarribee Shire Council has reactivated its hardship policy and will defer rates and charges for businesses and residents affected by the latest COVID restrictions.
The relief package, adopted by Council’s Interim Administrator Mr Viv May at Council’s meeting of Wednesday 11 August, will lessen the burden on impacted businesses and households.
“We’re acutely aware that many businesses across our Shire have had to either reduce the services they normally offer, temporarily close or even lay off staff as this latest crisis continues to unfold,” Mr May said.
“This package is specifically designed to help local residents, community groups and businesses who meet the criteria and get through this latest rough patch.”
As part of the relief measures Council will defer rates and charges for affected businesses and residents impacted by the pandemic for the next six months. The deferment of fees extends to community and sporting groups.
As per the recommendation, Council also proposes to reduce all fees for outdoor dining venues, including footpath signage and health inspections starting 1 August 2021. As required under the Local Government Act 1993, Council will publicly exhibit the proposed fee reductions for the abovementioned items for 28 days starting Monday 16 August. Residents wishing to view or comment can find the proposed changes at www.wsc.nsw.gov.au/Community/Coronavirus-COVID-19/Council-Support. Following the close of the exhibition period, the proposal will be considered by Council and, if adopted, the fee waiver will be back-dated to the start of August.
“Supporting local business is vital for the overall health of the community,” Mr May added. “Local businesses are primary employers and key drivers of our economy.”
Southern Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chair Steve Horton said the relief package was welcome news.
“Anything that alleviates the financial burden on Highlands businesses and provides them with one less issue to worry about is greatly appreciated,” he said. “I commend Council and the Interim Administrator for this initiative.”
Council’s General Manager Lisa Miscamble said the financial assistance package was the latest pro-active measure introduced by Council.
“The health and safety of our employees, their families and our residents remain our primary focus,” she said.
“That’s why we’ve increased Covid testing with our Government partners at our sewage treatment plants and introduced weekly testing of essential staff who live outside the area.
“We’ve also re-introduced flexible work arrangements and limited face-to-face contact in public areas to restrict staff movements and protect our community.”
To view the full list of Council’s financial relief measures, visit www.wsc.nsw.gov.au/Community/Coronavirus-COVID-19/Council-Support.
Businesses or residents wishing to apply for Council’s COVID-19 Economic Relief Package or discuss their individual circumstances are urged to call Council’s Revenue Team on phone 4868 0888.
For the latest COVID-19 updates including advice, restrictions and details on the NSW Government’s financial support packages for individuals, households and businesses, visit www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19.