Bellingen Shire Council Mayor, Cr Dominic King, is again calling on the Federal and State Governments to come to the table with a range of economic stimulus and financial assistance measures so our Shire can respond and recover from the recent drought, bushfires, floods and the current pandemic crisis.
Cr King said the financial impact of these events was being felt by Councils throughout the region in an environment where local government represents just 3% of the national tax take and less than 1% of the national tax take funds the Federal Assistance Grants, emphasising that now was the time for the Federal and State Governments to help ease the burden by working with Councils and communities to address their immediate and long-term financial sustainability.
“I know our community and local businesses have been doing it tough for quite some time now and people are genuinely concerned about their jobs and the financial future of our Shire and it’s local businesses, so we’ve all been working together and doing the best we can to provide local solutions.”
“But we can’t go it alone, as we are all experiencing financial pressures as a result of declining revenue sources and the additional costs associated with responding to and recovering from the recent drought, bushfires, floods and now the current pandemic crisis.”
“That’s why I will continue to advocate on behalf of our community and work with the Member for Oxley, Melinda Pavey, the Office of the Deputy Premier and the Member for Cowper, Pat Conaghan to proactively identify opportunities to ease the financial pressures on our Shire’s medical services, local businesses, community service providers and rate payers.”
Cr King said Council routinely provides 31 services to our community each and every day and is forward planning for the social and economic impacts to be faced in the weeks and months ahead by constantly reviewing and identifying opportunities to maintain Council’s operational capacity and essential services, while complying with Federal and State Government directives.
“We need to maintain our operational capacity for as long as possible so we can support our community and local businesses, but it’s going to become increasingly challenging to maintain the essential and practical support services our community relies on to live their day to day lives without additional Federal and State financial assistance.”
“Meanwhile, we’ll continue to do what we can with limited resources to assist ratepayers who may be suffering genuine financial hardship, which is why Council recently adopted a range of measures to provide relief to business, community groups and ratepayers who have suffered hardship due to the Federal Government’s social distancing rules.”
“Finally, I think it’s important that we all continue to do our best to contribute towards the costs of providing the essential services we all rely on as a community and rest assured, I will continue to advocate on your behalf the critical importance of securing Federal and State Government financial assistance to ensure our shared vison for a sustainable future is realised.”