Council calls for funding to help ‘disaster fatigued’ region
WITH the coronavirus crisis deepening across the country, Lismore councillors have called on the Federal and NSW Governments to provide urgent assistance.
In a joint statement, the councillors are calling for financial assistance so Lismore City Council can "continue to provide the community with essential services during this critical time".
"Our community is still recovering from the devastating 2017 one-in-a-hundred-year flood that had a $7.5 billion economic impact on our region," the statement says.
"And in the last six months, we have been hit by the drought which almost decimated our agricultural sector, sustained major damage across our Local Government Area as a result of the devastating bushfires and bore a significant burden operating a number of evacuation centres, and endured another flooding of our CBD in February that hurt local businesses."
The councillors said the assistance is needed as "the community and council's workforce are disaster fatigued".
"While the council is committed to providing support and maintaining essential services for our community, we urgently need financial assistance from both the Federal and State Governments as we deal with the COVID-19 virus," the statement says.
"We request that the Federal Government urgently creates a process for approval and fast tracking of projects that Lismore has submitted to the Department of Infrastructure."
The councillors' requests for Federal Government including calling for the government to commit to funding job-creation projects immediately and ensuring all councils are fast tracked on the Job Keeper program, a program the councillors hope to see "announced immediately so that the council can commit to retaining essential services".
The statement outlines a number of requests for the NSW State Government, including:
•Urgently approving the Growing Local Economies, Employment Lands proposal that has been with the NSW Government since July 2019 and forward the agreement for immediate execution so that Lismore City Council can retain employees and stimulate local businesses as they struggle with COVID-19,
•Ceasing the waste levy charges to Lismore City Council effective from April 1 through to July 2021,
•Instructing Treasury Corporation to implement a loan hibernation period on all loan repayments effective from April 1 through to July 2021,
•Instructing Treasury Corporation to reduce their loan restriction ratios immediately,
•Releasing all road funding for grant-funded projects at the time of execution of the Deed of Agreement.