An emergency meeting tonight of the Local Government peak body has endorsed a suite of actions for Councils to consider in supporting their communities through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The meeting of the State Council of the WA Local Government Association endorsed the measures, which included no increase in rates as a sector objective for those Councils with the capacity to do so. 

WALGA President Mayor Tracey Roberts said the sector is focussed on supporting households, small business and community sporting and cultural groups.

“Local Governments across the State are doing all they can to support their local communities and I know if it were financially possible all Local Governments would keep rates down and offer reductions,” Mayor Roberts said.

“However I also know many Councils support their communities in other ways including provision of housing and support for medical and emergency services.”

A summary of measures endorsed by WALGA include: 
  • Consider not increasing rates for the 2020-21 financial year.
  • Adoption of the WALGA template rates hardship policy by Local Governments that do not currently have a policy.
  • Consider rate relief options to support small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Review fees and charges considering whether fees can be reduced, waived or deferred during the COVIC-19 pandemic.
  • Bring forward capital works and infrastructure spending with aggressive application of reserves and borrowing.
  • Prioritise Local Government spending with businesses and contractors located within the Local Government.
  • Implement business friendly payment terms to support business cash flow.
  • Consider supporting Community sporting and cultural groups by either establishing grant programs or waiving fees and charges. 
  • Redeploy staff affected by facility closures to tasks that support the community.
Mayor Roberts said State Council appreciated that the State Government had already begun drafting legislative and regulatory amendments to support the suite of actions.