COVID-19 Relief and Recovery

Published on Thursday, 26 March 2020 at 5:48:18 PM

The City of Vincent has been urgently working on measures to provide immediate relief and support recovery for our community and local businesses impacted by COVID-19.

The City’s comprehensive COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Strategy will outline these measures and be considered by Council at a Special Meeting on Monday 30 March. Many measures are already in place, with others to take effect immediately following Council consideration at the meeting.

The City of Vincent’s COVID-19 Relief and Recovery measures include:

Financial measures:

  • Waive interest on all outstanding rates and a suspension of new debt collection activities.
  • Refunded all cancelled bookings at City-owned properties or facilities.
  • Bring forward planned asset maintenance programs.
  • Consideration of impacts of COVID-19 on City debtors.
  • Move to fortnightly payment of creditors.
  • Budget and financial strategy for 2020/21 include a 0% rate and fees and charges increase.

Support for our most vulnerable people:

  • EOI for disbursement of significant Leederville Gardens trust funds to assist vulnerable residents impacted by COVID-19.
  • Expand Vincent Library e-book loans and Books on Wheels service.
  • Expand Meals on Wheels Service.
  • Assessment of further need and support through reprioritisation of services and resources.

Business initiatives:

  • Currently engaging with businesses and community groups impacted by COVID-19 to ascertain needs and hardship being experienced.
  • Buy local campaign to support our small businesses – plus social media support.
  • Changes to car parking to support take away and home delivery services.
  • Launched online planning applications for lodgement and tracking.
  • Expand Beaufort Street amnesty for change of use planning applications across Vincent.
  • Consider arts industry relief using developer contribution cash-in-lieu funds from Percent for Art trust.

Our business:

  • Realign and reprioritise services, projects, staff and resources towards relief and recovery.
  • Establish of COVID-19 Committee of Council for agile, highly responsive decision making.
  • Consider deferral of City’s major FOGO third bin project until 2021.
  • Develop new online community building initiatives.

Monday’s Special Council Meeting will be the first on-line meeting of Council following a change in the regulations allowing electronic participation.

A three member Special Committee on COVID-19 Relief & Recovery is recommended to ensure agile and highly responsive decision making.

The proposed Committee would meet at least weekly, and publically online, to oversee the City’s Relief & Recovery Strategy and have extraordinary powers for the next six months to make urgent decisions to respond to the rapidly changing situation including:

 Urgently implement the City’s COVID-19 Strategy.

  • Approve the disbursement of Leederville Gardens Trust funds to provide relief to vulnerable residents impacted by COVID-19.
  • Exercise discretion in the compliance with City policies arising due to impacts of COVID-19.
  • Make decisions on the awarding tenders; selling unused property (not public open space, parks or reserves) and waiving fees related to the impact of COVID-19.
  • Approve urgent planning applications from proponents impacted by COVID-19.

The Committee would also advise Council on the significant financial and budgetary impact on the City arising from COVID-19 – including the loss of revenue from the closure this week of Beatty Park Leisure Centre.

Comments from Mayor Emma Cole:

“We know this has been the toughest week yet and I want to acknowledge the heartbreak and stress in our community. We have seen the closure of our local pubs, cafes and restaurants, our iconic Luna Cinema, places of worship, gyms, sporting venues and beauty services. Many of our independent retailers are also closing voluntarily this week and our schools are winding back physical attendance next week, with parents and carers asked to keep children home where it’s possible to do so.

“Our community is experiencing rapid change and social disconnection. We know the impacts are deep and are affecting the lives and livelihoods of so many in our community.

“We all understand this is critical to saving lives from the spread of COVID-19. Our local businesses and community have been extraordinary and displayed enormous compassion and selflessness in rising to these challenges.

“I want to assure you that we have been working with urgency and determination to do all we can to help, to keep us connected and we will be here for you for the duration.

“This is a tough time for everyone, our business included, with the City of Vincent rapidly reviewing significant impacts on our budget from lost revenue with the closure of Beatty Park, staffing impacts and urgently reviewing all discretionary expenditure and using all available resources for relief and response,”

“We are facing this together, our health is the number one priority and the resilience and care in our community will get us through this,” said Mayor Emma Cole.

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