In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Local Governments in the region are considering or undertaking the following measures to relieve the impact on the local community. Measures are intended to reduce the financial impact on ratepayers and local businesses while working to stimulate the local economy.
 

Shire of Ashburton

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In response to the April School Holiday Program being cancelled, the Shire of Ashburton have created a School Holiday Pack with loads of fun activities, games a nd online resources to keep Onslow kids active and entertained.

The free pack can be requested via email and delivered to the door.

This program is delivered as part of the Working Together for Onslow partnership with the Shire of Ashburton and Chevron Wheatstone Project.

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Shire of Ashburton

At the Council meeting on Tuesday, 14 April, the Shire of Ashburton resolved:
  • Support package with estimated total value of $1.5 million
  • No increase to rates or fees and charges for 2020/21;
  • Flexible rates payment arrangements and waiver of the $74.00 special arrangement fee for 20/21;
  • On application waive penalty and instalment interest and rate instalment charge to current overdue rates debtors, as well as general interest for sundry debtors, for a period of up to six months;
  • Suspend debt recovery procedures to both rates and sundry debtors including all forms of legal action for up to six months;
  • Upon application write off outstanding debts incurred as a result of financial hardship and loss due to COVID-19 (incurred debts must be no earlier than 1 February 2020);
  • Allow full refunds for cancellations of facility hire, kennel bookings, liquor licenses, gym memberships and tour bookings plus waive any associated cancellation fees;
  • Provide 12 month’s rent relief on leases to small businesses, community groups and clubs
  • Adopt ‘FIN 24 - Financial Hardship Policy’ to give effect to Council’s commitment to support the whole community in meeting the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19 Establish a COVID-19 Small Business and Community Grants Fund of $250,000 to assist those small businesses and community groups experiencing financial hardship and loss due to the pandemic;
  • Create an ‘Open for Business Directory’ to encourage local spending and business continuity in the local economy.

Shire of East Pilbara

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The Shire of East Pilbara’s 'East Pilbara Dollars' Project aims to regenerate the local economy by incentivising local spending at local small businesses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to assist affected local small businesses.

This project's purpose is to assist local small businesses who have lost revenue due to the current government restrictions in response to COVID-19, by increasing immediate cash flow and generating revenue. We will do this by purchasing gift cards/ vouchers to become 'East Pilbara Dollars' which will be distributed to the community to spend.

Local businesses can sign up with the Shire, and the Council will provide $50,000 in East Pilbara dollars for the community to win or receive giftcards that can be spent at approved local businesses.

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Shire of East Pilbara

At the Council meeting on Friday, 24 April, the Shire of East Pilbara:
  • Adopted COVID-19 Financial Hardship Policy
  • Adopted 0% rate increase to Council rates in 2020-21 financial year, with 5% refunds to be offered to certain categories of ratepayer.
  • Adopted a 0% increase in fees and charges in 2020-21 financial year
  • Waived 2020-21 penalty interest, rates instalment payment fees and instalment interest for those facing financial hardship;
  • Suspended new debt collection activities and increased flexible payment options.
  • Deferred certain fees and charges for six months for sporting clubs, sole traders and businesses.
  • Waived 50% of rental payments for six months for certain tenants, with a similar waiver available for others on application.
  • Allocated $50,000 towards a buy local project and $100,000 to provide local business support consulting service.

City of Karratha
 

Karratha City Council introduced  $3m COVID-19 small business and community support packages on March 30 to provide support to ratepayers, small businesses and community groups.

Initiatives include increased access to debt write off, freezing rates and City fees in 2020/21, deferring rates collection for three months, increased spending on local suppliers and contractors, waiving rent for City small business tenants for six months, providing advice to businesses to access State and Federal initiatives, an online portal and advertising campaign to encourage local spending,
establishing a Community Group Assistance Fund to provide grants up to $25,000 per community group or association, and providing compassionate terms to City debtors.

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Town of Port Hedland

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The Town of Port Hedland's Port Hedland Leisure has provided virtural gym workouts along with exercise videos on their website, Facebook page and Youtube. The workouts include boot camp circuit training, yoga and pilates.

Town of Port Hedland


The Town of Port Hedland has developed the ‘Buy Local, By Hedland’ platform and invited all Hedland based sole traders and small to medium businesses with a registered ABN to register.

The business registration and promotional platform gives Hedland based businesses the chance to share their stories on how they’re adapting to the changing environment, and how local customers can still access their goods and services.

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Town of Port Hedland
At the Council meeting on Wednesday, 22 April, the Town of Port Hedland
  • Adopted a 0% increase to Council rate in the dollar and existing Town fees and charges in financial year 2020/21.
  • Committed to considering rent relief applications for any Town owned properties demonstrating hardship.
  • Committed to working with suppliers that have been affected by supply chain disruption, including partial payments on contracts and reduced payment terms from 30 to 15 days.
  • Created a Community fund of $360,000 for not-for-profit organisations, and a Support Local Small Business Assistance fund of $625,000 to provide financial support for eligible small business.
  • Committed to waiving fees and charges for mandatory operating costs for impacted local small business.
  • Confirmed that COVID-19 constitutes “exceptional circumstances” for applications under the Town’s debt management policy.
  • Committed to refunding fees and charges relating to the use of Town facilities that are closed or does not meet current social distancing guidelines.

Got a project, policy or initiative that you'd like to share?  Email  communications@walga.asn.au