Relief and Rebound Plan approved

A 12-month, $18 million package designed to provide immediate support to City of Perth businesses was approved by the City of Perth Commissioners last night.

City of Perth Chair Commissioner Andrew Hammond said the Relief and Rebound Plan provided an initial package of support for businesses, ratepayers and residents impacted by COVID-19.

“We know our community is suffering economically and socially. As a City, we are here to help, now and in the future,” he said.

“This is a moderate, sensible and immediate response. We have an incredible challenge ahead in achieving a balance between financial sustainability and assisting the community in what is a time of severe and sustained economic hardship.”

Commissioner Hammond also confirmed the City was currently working on a long-term stimulation package to assist the CBD in recovering from this crisis.

As part of its Relief and Rebound Plan, the City is working in partnership with the State Government and community services sector to address the impacts of COVID-19 on people sleeping rough in the City.

This is in response to the serious impact of social distancing requirements and the reduction of many voluntary organisations who have had to withdraw their services.

The health and safety of the City of Perth’s vulnerable people is a priority and while the City is helping to identify some urgent solutions, the longer-term Plan for Vulnerable People will address longer-term and sustainable outcomes for the homeless community.

The Relief and Rebound Plan includes:

CAPITAL WORKS AND MAINTENANCE

The City of Perth is working on accelerated capital works projects to help boost the economy and maintain jobs.

The City has awarded an accelerated program for the redevelopment of Wellington Square. Planned construction which was due to take three years to complete will now be completed in one year. These works are currently underway.

Similarly, the East End Revitalisation project was approved with an accelerated program being presented as the preferred option for approval. Approximately $10 million worth of construction will commence in May 2020 and run for a 12-month period.

The City recently brought forward detailed design for the Roe Street Redevelopment from the 20/21 financial year, allowing the tender process to commence in June 2020. This could bring construction of this project forward from late next financial year to later in the 2020 calendar year.

Additionally, there are numerous programs of City work being looked at including lighting renewals and urban forest tree planting which could add extra stimulus during the rebound phase of the City’s plans.

RATES AND RENT

A 0 per cent rate increase in municipal rates and charges, including sanitation and waste charge in 2020/21.

Suspension of lease and rental payments for three months to all City of Perth tenants leasing city owned property, including the relinquishment of bank guarantees

Commissioner Hammond said some businesses may see an increase in their 2020/21 rates due to improved valuations.

OTHER INITIATIVES

  • An express planning service for change of land use and development applications for small businesses
  • A full refund on all cancelled bookings at City properties or facilities
  • Shorter payment terms for creditors, reduced from 30 days to 15 days
  • Debtors experiencing hardship will receive a range of options to assist in payment
  • The City will waive fees and charges associated with;

    -Food Premise Licence Fees

    -Other Inspectorial Licence Fees

    -Change of Land Use Fees

    -Small Business Development/Planning Fees (when the estimated cost of development is under $500,000)

Commissioner Hammond said in order to fund what would be a significant operating deficit over the next one to two years, the City of Perth would focus on essential services and adjust service delivery capacity accordingly.

In doing so, the City will make use of savings in recurrent expenditure, long term borrowings and reserve funds. All of these initiatives will be implemented immediately.

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