Local Government NSW (LGNSW) has welcomed the State Government’s decision to cover the costs of council rates, providing some relief to bushfire affected councils and their communities.
The decision follows representations by several bushfire-affected local councils and others in the sector, including LGNSW.
LGNSW President Cr Linda Scott said this move would provide some immediate financial relief to people already suffering through the aftermath of the bushfires, including many who had lost homes or businesses.
Service NSW is set to pay the full cost of council rates for the third and fourth quarters of this financial year for people who have lost their homes and businesses, including providing refunds to those people who have already paid.
“We thank the NSW Government for working in partnership with us to help councils to support their communities to focus on the enormous clean-up task, and ultimately to recover faster and more sustainably,” Cr Scott said.
“Councils are most grateful of efforts to ease the burden by funding council rates and for agreeing to cover the cost of the clean-up.”
LGNSW is also working with Sydney City Council and the offices of Emergency Management and Local Government through the newly created NSW Local Government Bushfire Recovery Support Group.
The group is focusing on the provision of direct council-to-council support, with the needs of impacted councils being cross-matched to assistance available from non-impacted councils.
More than 35 councils from across NSW have already swung into action, with 508 offers relating to logistics and communications, clearing trees and debris, waste services, planning, engineering and infrastructure support.
“The enormity of the recovery task ahead is made faster and easier when local, state and federal governments pull together as we are now, to support bushfire-affected councils and their communities,” Cr Scott said.