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 Augusta Margaret River
 

At the Council meeting on Wednesday, 25 March, the Shire of Augusta Margaret River resolved to
  • Propose transfer of $2 million from reserve to enable support to provided to the local community
  • Quick access funding for Community Care and Business Support (over $150 000 in funding allocated already)
  • Budget to be prepared based on 0% rate increase with options for rate reduction
  • Waiver of all non-regulatory Shire fees and charges and all penalty interest on outstanding rates until 30 June 2020
  • Wellness and community support services
Read more
 

Shire of Augusta Margaret River

The Shire of Augusta Margaret River's Main Street Makeover in Margaret River is well underway.

Stage two of the project has been fast-tracked to take advantage of the town's current shutdown and limit future disruption to businesses. It also means that the local and regional economy continues to be supported during the current pandemic.

View the video here.
 

Shire of Boyup Brook

At the Council meeting on Thursday, 2 April, the Shire of Boyup Brook:
  • Announced a 0% rate increase and no increase to fees and charges for the 2020/21 financial year.

Shire of Bridgetown-Greenbushes

At the Council meeting on Monday, 6 April, the Shire of Bridgetown-Greenbushes resolved to:
  • Endorse a Community Response Plan and 2020/21 Budget Framework with a total value of $321,931 across this and next financial year
  • Include waiver of interest on unpaid rates and waiving certain fees.
  • Include refunds of over $6000 worth of fees already paid by food businesses and a commitment to refund sporting clubs for unused facilities.
  • Zero increases to rates, fees and charges for 20/21.

City of Bunbury


 

The City of Bunbury has linked up with Welcome Site to assist with the placement of mobile hand-washing stations in and around the CBD. Installed by City staff, the three stations will be in place with no end date for removal at this time.

Soap, paper towel and water will be monitored daily with disinfecting of the units also taking place.

The City also instigated a lighting campaign as a beacon of hope, positivity and connection for our community in response to COVID-19. Landmarks across regional WA will light up yellow from 1 to 30 April. The City is encouraging other Local Governments with lighting capabilities to take part. 
 

City of Bunbury

At the Council meetings on Tuesday, 31 March and 14 April, the City of Bunbury resolved:
  • 2020/21 Budget to be prepared on the basis of a zero percent increase in rates, fees and charges and considering flexible payment options and a reduced rate of interest charges to rates billing and collection.
  • Suspended interest charges and debt collection on current outstanding rates.
  • Refunds on outdoor eating fees, memberships and cancelled bookings at City properties and facilities.
  • Suspended lease and rental payments for select City own property, with consideration for other leases and licences upon request.
  • Buy local, support local and care for our community promotional campaigns.
  • Waived certain planning fees.
  • Prepared City of Bunbury Relief and Recovery Plan – COVID-19.

City of Busselton

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City of Busselton's Geographe Leisure Centre have redeployed some staff across the Council, but exercise classes are still happening on Facebook group, only accessible by members of the leisure centre.

Youth Development staff members have also been redeployed to volunteer for a local community group that provides free hot lunches for the homeless and vulnerable members of the commuity. View the video here.
 

City of Busselton
 
  • Freeze Rate (no rates increase in June)
  • Freeze fees and charges
  • Redeploy staff from closed facilities
  • Rent relief to tenants of Council properties
  • Repurpose reserves to generate economic activity
  • Fast track approvals processes
  • Refund booking fees for Council events and assets
  • Implement Buy Local Policy
  • Develop Recovery Strategy
  • Develop strategy for vulnerable people in the community
  • Link to local not-for-profit groups
  • Implemented payment plans for hardship

Shire of Capel

At the Council meeting on Wednesday, 29 April, the Shire of Capel:
  • Endorsed no increase to any fees, charges or tariffs for the 2020-21 Budget.
  • Waived interest and penalty interest on all outstanding rates and service charges for the 2019/20 financial year, as from 15 March 2020.
  • Suspended any new debt collection activities and deferred the due date for payment of all outstanding rate and service charges for the 2019/20 financial year to 30 June 2020.
  • Endorsed expedited payments for creditors and further engagement with business, sporting and community groups in the Shire impacted by COVID-19 to ascertain needs and hardship being experienced.
  • Waived all Surveillance/Inspection Fees and Charges for food businesses impacted by the Emergency Directions.

Shire of Collie

At the Council meeting on Tuesday, 31 March, the Shire of Collie resolved to
  • Waive penalty interest on unpaid rates
  • Freeze rates in the 20/21 budget with an anticipated impact of between $92,700 and $123,600

Shire of Dardanup


 

The Shire of Dardanup has created the ‘I Heart Dardanup’ Facebook group, to connect people living in the Shire with their neighbours during this difficult time. The page is a place to discuss local information, connect carers and volunteers with those in need and keep spirits high. Local businesses can share products and services. The page also features dance lessons, to keep the community active at home.

Shire of Dardanup
At the Council meeting on Wednesday, 25 March, the Shire of Dardanup :
  • Endorsed a projected rate revenue increase of 0% for the 2020/21 budget, with a 0% increase in minimum rates

Shire of Donnybrook-Balingup
At their 14 April meeting, the Shire of Donnybrook-Balingup:
  • Approved the Shire of Donnybrook Balingup COVID-19 Recovery Plan
  • Endorsed a rating level freeze for 2020/21
  • Waived certain fees and charges
  • Waived facility lease payments for community and sporting groups, with commercial leases to be reviewed on a case by case basis
  • Increased promotion and support for local businesses and introduced weekly payment of invoices to assist with cash flow
  • Adopted COVID-19 Financial Hardship Policy

Shire of Harvey

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The Meals on Wheels service in Harvey has had an increased demand due to the COVID-19 crisis and a drop in volunteers, so Shire staff have stepped in to help cook and deliver meals in this time of need.
 
Meals on Wheels President Brian Keally said he most appreciated having these volunteers. He was also excited to receive the fresh produce, donated by local growers.

View the video here.

Shire of Harvey

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The Shire of Harvey library staff created the Library Takeaway Service which is available at Australind and Harvey libraries. Library members can still borrow items, by phoning or emailing their library. Watch the video  here. Click  here to register for the service.
The community can also attend weekly Storytime and Rhymetime sessions from the comfort of your own home. Watch these twice a week on the Shire’s  YouTube channel.

The community is being encouraged to still phone or email the library, even if it is just to touch base with one of our library officers. e-Resources are available  here. Staff are available between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday to chat on the phone and/or offer assistance.
 
Read more
 

Shire of Harvey
 
  • Freeze fees and charges
  • Redeploy staff from closed facilities
  • Rent relief to tenants of Council properties
  • Bring forward capital works program
  • Repurpose reserves to generate economic activity
  • Fast track approvals processes
  • Refund booking fees for Council events and assets
  • Develop strategy for vulnerable people in the community
  • Link to local not-for-profit groups
  • Implemented payment plans for hardship
  • Revise current budget

Shire of Manjimup

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The Manjimup Regional AquaCentre, managed by the Shire of Manjimup, have opened up their showers to those who may not have access to these facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Showers will be open two or three days a week.

There are strict hygiene and cleaning measures in place to ensure the safet y of the staff and everyone who attends for a shower. 

The AquaCentre has also gone live on Facebook to stream exercise classes and ensure the community is keeping fit and healthy.

Read More


Shire of Manjimup

At the Council meeting on Thursday, 26 March, the Shire of Manjimup resolved
  • 0% rate increase and no change to fees and charges for 20/21.
Read more
 

Shire of Nannup
 
  • Freeze Rate (no rates increase in June)
  • Freeze fees and charges
  • Rent relief to tenants of Council properties
  • Fast track approvals processes
  • Refund booking fees for Council events and assets
  • Implement Buy Local Policy
  • Develop Recovery Strategy
  • Develop strategy for vulnerable people in the community
  • Link to local not-for-profit groups
  • Implemented payment plans for hardship
  • Revise current budget

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