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Council approves $15 million Community Stimulus Package

15 April 2020

In what could be a Perth first for local governments, the City of Melville Council has approved a flat $200 rates concession for Melville households.

In what could be a Perth first for local governments, the City of Melville Council has approved a flat $200 rates concession for households (an average of 11%) and 10% reduction for commercial rates (on 2019-2020 valuations), in an effort to provide Melville ratepayers with some relief to the COVID-19 crisis.

City of Melville Mayor the Hon. George Gear JP said the Community Stimulus Package, approved at a Special Council meeting on Thursday, 9 April, was estimated at $15 million and was made possible due to the City’s long term strong financial position.

“In keeping with our view that the COVID-19 pandemic is not just a health crisis, but an economic and social crisis as well, our Community Stimulus Package has been designed to support our local households, businesses, tenants and various sporting and community groups who have all been impacted by the current state of emergency,” said Mayor Gear.

“Our $200 flat rate concession for households means that our lowest income ratepayers will benefit the most, proportionately, and we believe this is the right thing to do. Our commercial rates will also be reduced by 10% based on 2019-2020 valuations, fees and charges will be frozen for 2020-2021 and first hour free parking will be rolled out across the City. 

“Some leasing and loan arrangements are also being waived in an effort to alleviate the current impacts being experienced by a variety of commercial operators, sporting and community groups, and in what could be additional relief for small businesses, we will also investigate the feasibility of waiving some licensing fees (partially or fully) as part of the 2020-2021 budget - we are doing everything we can to help our community and our economy to come through this.

“The Community Stimulus Package provides both immediate and longer term measures, adding value to the National and State financial support response and answering the call of State Government to “pull out all the stops” to support Western Australian communities. 

“We believe this $15 million package answers the State’s call and we are also pleased to deliver a stimulus package that when measured as a percentage of our budget, exceeds that of the Federal and State governments, without incurring any debt. We hope this package will provide some relief now, and in the longer term, to help support the recovery of our community and economy.”

The immediate measures approved in the Community Stimulus Package include:

  • All interest charges stopped from 1 March to 30 June 2020 on outstanding payments to the City
  • Loan repayments waived for sporting clubs and associations, in council owned buildings for 6 months ending 31 August 2020
  • Any lease payments and outgoings waived for not for profits/sporting associations in council owned buildings for 6 months ending 31 August 2020
  • Lease payments waived for commercial tenancies in Council owned buildings where hardship can be demonstrated for 6 months ending 31 August 2020
  • Parking fees changed to first hour free in all City managed areas

In the longer term, the 2020-2021 Budget will be prepared to include the following:

  • A proposed reduction in rates payable for 2020-2021 facilitated through rates concessions of $200 for all general rates for improved properties, $165 for general rates for unimproved properties and 10% reduction in commercial rates based on 2019-2020 valuations
  • No increase in fees and charges
  • Parking fees changed to first hour free in all City managed areas
  • Financial grant support payments for clubs/associations up to a total of no more than $750,000
  • A reduced penalty interest on rates payments and underground power down from 8% to 2%
  • Supporting flexible payments of rates by removing administration fees and reducing penalty interest to 2%
  • Removing surcharges for payments by credit / debit cards
  • A reduction in the property surveillance and security service charge of $10.00
  • A reduction in private swimming pool inspection fees of $10.00.

“Our immediate focus as a local government is to provide critical support, which we are doing through a variety of community initiatives and programs. We also continue to deliver our essential services, which are needed now more than ever,” said Mayor Gear.

“We also want to provide some assistance and relief and to ensure we are well positioned for recovery, which we can do through this significant $15 million Community Stimulus Package. In addition to this, the City will also deliver a strong capital works programme in 2020-2021 to ensure maximum opportunities for local employment, economic stimulus and long lasting community infrastructure are achieved.”

Click here to view the full Council report.

Due to the current State of Emergency and government directives regarding public gatherings, the Special Meeting of Council on 9 April 2020, and all other Council Meetings are being held via electronic means (in line with recent amendments made by Parliament to the Local Government (Administration) Regulations 1996). Visit our Council Meetings & COVID-19 page for details. 

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