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Media Release – Council supports Community with COVID-19 Relief Measures

Council supports Community with COVID-19 Relief Measures

Sorell Council has approved a range of relief measures in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic at its April Council Meeting.

Among the measures were a 0% increase on general rates, fees and charges for 2020-2021 and for ratepayers meeting hardship requirements, no penalties, charges, interest for late rates payments and extended payment periods in accordance with the Financial Hardship Assistance Policy up to the second rate instalment in October 2020.

Mayor Kerry Vincent says it’s an unprecedented and challenging time we are faced with. “It’s a tough time for everyone. We are all in this together and need to assist those in a position of need. Many people have lost their jobs and incomes. We understand how tough things are for people in this time. We don’t know for how long these pandemic effects will last.”

“Council is committed to supporting our community and these measures will go some way to relieving the stress people are currently experiencing. We have focused on doing the right thing to support our community during these uncertain and very difficult times.”

“Every part of our community has been affected by this Pandemic. We don’t know when life will return to normal or what normal will look like in the future. However, in the meantime we are communicating with residents, community groups and organisations on their requirements and needs on a regular basis.”

“Councils across Tasmania have been working together and collaboratively with Government Agencies to put measures and programs in place to support our communities. Local Government plays a big role in responding to this pandemic by ensuring essential services continue to be delivered to our communities.”

“I would like to congratulate the State Government for their response to COVID-19. Their economic stimulus package and associated business, community and household support schemes have broad community benefits and will go a long way to supporting those in our community.”

“The Council offices may be closed to the public, but Council staff are still working diligently, albeit remotely, to serve our community. You can still contact Council by phone and email for all your requirements.” said Kerry.

Council adopted the following recommendations in response to COVID-19 relief:

    • No penalties, charges, interest for late rates payments and extended payment periods for ratepayers meeting hardship requirements up to the second rate instalment in October 2020 in accordance with the Financial Hardship Assistance Policy.
    • Rent relief on Council owned buildings where tenants are experiencing financial hardship until 30 June 2020.
    • A common approach to hardship / assistance policies with LGAT to develop a model policy based on engagement with Councils.
    • Community grants to be refocussed as appropriate to support local business and not for profit recovery until 30 June 2021.
    • Creditor invoices will be settled within 14 days, irrespective of normal trading terms to support local businesses.
    • Sorell Council adopt a 0% increase on general rates, fees and charges for 2020-2021.
    • Council will not alter current asset and financial management practices.

Communications, 24/04/2020