News

Covid-19 ‘assistance package’ to be considered at Council’s meeting tonight

Picture: Miguel Montejano on Pexels.com

A COVID-19 ‘Assistance for the Community and Business’ package will be considered by Wollongong City Council for endorsement tonight (Monday 2 August 2021).

The report includes a series of recommendations about options for support to residents, ratepayers and businesses during the current Covid lockdown.

While the Council meetings are currently being held virtually, people can join online to watch the deliberations of Council at its webcast. The webcast starts at 6pm.

Among the package to be considered by the Council:

  • Interest on overdue rates and charges on current 2021-2022 rates be set to 0% for the period to 31 July to 30 November 2021, and then revert to the current charge of 6% for the remainder of the year. Interest on overdue rates and charges prior to 2021-2022 remain at 6% for the financial year.
  • Cease legal debt recovery on 2021-2022 rates otherwise required under Council’s Debt Recovery and Hardship Assistance Policy until 30 November 2021 while continuing to issue all annual, instalment and revised reminder notices to keep ratepayers informed.
  • Consideration of requests for deferred payment arrangements for all ratepayers experiencing financial difficulty due to COVID-19 impacts under its Debt Recovery and Hardship Assistance Policy for the 2021-2022 financial year.
  • Provide assistance to the community by waiving casual parking fees in targeted off-street parking locations until 31 December 2021.
  • Provide support to sporting groups by waiving fees relating to the provision of sporting facilities for training and competition for the period of 1 July 2021 to 31 December 2021 subject to application and meeting identified criteria.
  • Provide support to fitness trainers, swim schools and surf schools by waiving fees for the period of 1 July 2021 to 31 December 2021.
  • Licensees of community facilities allocated under Council’s Allocation of Community Facilities to Community Groups Policy and 355 Committees of Council be provided with the opportunity to apply for financial support for payment of essential outgoings, up to a maximum of $5,000 per licence, for the 2020-2021 financial year. Provision of assistance to be subject to application and based on an analysis of each applicant’s financial capacity.
  • Approve the waiver of outdoor dining fees for the period of 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022 to support outdoor dining and economic recovery for hospitality businesses within the Local Government Area. Outdoor dining licence holders will still be required to pay the required amount for a Bond.
  • Provide support to its commercial tenants by adhering to the Regulations introduced on 14 July 2021 and, in addition, providing rental waivers and deferrals to eligible tenants for the period of 1 July 2021 to 31 December 2021.
  • Approve the waiver of the first annual inspection and administration fees for food premises and personal grooming businesses for the period of 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022.
  • Approve an allocation of $200,000 in financial assistance through the provision of small grants to local not-for-profit organisations for the provision of emergency food supply and general care packages for residents experiencing hardship.
  • Approve an allocation of $60,000 in financial assistance through the provision of a Quick Response Grants Program for Community Programs.
  • A program of assistance, including a buy local campaign, extended outdoor dining initiatives and support for creative industries.

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About Mick Roberts

A journalist, writer and historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of pubs, inns and associated industries in Australia for over 30 years. He is currently working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides writing a number of history books, Mick has owned and managed several community newspapers. He was one time editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), Sydney based, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW. He currently calls the inner-Sydney suburb of Surry Hills home.

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