Port Macquarie-Hastings Council has thrown its support behind the local government sector's campaign for assistance in these difficult times.
The sector is seeking financial assistance, employment support and stimulus funding in response to the coronavirus crisis.
Declining revenue, as more ratepayers and businesses are forced into financial hardship, is among the challenges facing councils.
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council has introduced a range of relief measures to help individuals and businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Mayor Peta Pinson raised the campaign for local government sector support from the state and federal governments in a mayoral minute at the council meeting on Wednesday, April 15.
"Council is doing everything possible to provide support and deliver the services needed to protect community health and keep our communities running during these difficult times," she said.
Cr Pinson said it was critical the local government sector received adequate funding and resources to coordinate and deliver the goods and services needed as we navigated through, and recovered from, natural disasters and the new challenges presented by COVID-19 and its massive impacts on people and our economies.
The mayor said urgent financial assistance was needed from the state and federal governments to maintain infrastructure, services and employment, as well as funding to give councils the capacity to provide hardship assistance to the community.
The council called on the federal and state governments to urgently deliver comprehensive and multifaceted financial support and stimulus packages to local government to enable the sector to continue to operate effectively and provide essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The stimulus and financial packages should include increasing financial assistance grants payments to one per cent.
The council also called for untied stimulus funding to councils for projects to help sustain operations and boost economies, as well as increased access to TAFE, vocational education and training, and other apprenticeship opportunities for council staff.
Rachel Sheppard, in a written submission to the mayoral minute, supported in principal the move to lobby the state and federal governments for financial aid due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"However, if the intent is to ensure council can continue providing essential services and infrastructure, it does not go far enough," she said.
"I urge you to recognise that if federal and state governments agree to provide aid, any relief offered would only be a brief reprieve until we are hit by the next inevitable climate change-driven emergency."
Ms Sheppard urged the councillors to request the general manager to also lobby the state and federal governments to take decisive, scientifically informed action on climate change, and start supporting our council to systemically respond to the dangers climate change posed our coastal community.
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