15 May 2020
In the Friday 15 May Special Council Meeting, Southern Downs Regional Council voted to release its COVID-19 Economic Recovery Package which includes a raft of economic initiatives to relieve financial pressure on the community as part of a multi–pronged approach to support the region’s recovery.
The first stage of support will take the form of immediate relief on council rates, fees and charges.
Council’s overall approach to supporting the community will come in several stages and incorporate extensive community feedback. Similar to its Bushfire Recovery Plan, Council will tailor future support packages as community needs are further identified through consultation with residents and businesses.
Southern Downs Regional Council Mayor Vic Pennisi said that the announcement of the COVID-19 Economic Relief Package was the starting foundation for the region’s recovery.
“We know that recovery is a journey. We’ve been through this process with bushfires and drought. The COVID-19 crisis is no exception; we will rebuild and we will maintain the unique community spirit that makes the Southern Downs such a great place to live,” Mayor Pennisi said.
“This package is the starting point for a recovery process that supports our community and local businesses to minimise the long-term impacts to the region’s economy.
“Council will continue to listen and respond to the needs of the Southern Downs community.
The second phase of our recovery process is equally as important and will focus on consulting and engaging with the community so that a tailored package of relief measures can be developed.”
Mayor Pennisi also said that Council had considered support already offered by Federal and State Governments to ensure the Council offering provided assistance to people who may not be receiving State or Federal help.
“The goal of Council’s COVID-19 Economic Recovery Package is to offer a fair go for everyone and ensure that those who need support, receive support.”
Council’s recovery activities will also include small-scale Recovery Hub Centres in both Warwick and Stanthorpe which will open from Wednesday 20 May. Due to social distancing restrictions, appointments will need to be made.
Council has also established disaster recovery sub groups for Human & Social, Economic, Environmental, Buildings, Finance and Roads & Transport, with specialised staff available to discuss these issues alongside Portfolio Councillors.
Southern Downs Regional Council COVID-19 Economic Recovery Package
• Refocus the Community Grants Program to COVID-19 recovery actions arising from the recovery plan.
• Extend the payment period for utility notices until the end of June 2020.
• Suspension of the Invasive Pest Control levy for 2020/21.
• Extend the period of time which payment arrangements can be entered into.
• Waive interest on overdue rates and charges calculated at 30 June 2020.
• Suspend charging of interest on outstanding rates and charges.
• Suspend debt recovery activities for all outstanding rates and charges.
• 50% reduction of development assessment fees for any new, extensions to existing, and operational works applications fees for 2020/21.
• Waive rental accommodation license fees and caravan park permit fees for 2020/21.
• Waive food license fees for 2020/21.
• Refund booking fees for community events cancelled as a result of COVID-19.
• Waive fees for temporary event permits up until 31 December 2020.
• Fast-track the processing of payment of all invoices.
For all the latest Southern Downs Regional Council news, visit www.sdrc.qld.gov.au or call 1300 697 372.