Published On 16 April 2020 at 08:00 PM
Sutherland Shire councillors have unanimously endorsed an initial COVID-19 Relief Package to support residents and businesses as NSW continues to grapple with the unprecedented impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Sutherland Shire Mayor, Councillor Carmelo Pesce said a Phase 1 COVID-19 Relief Package will see measures to support both residents and business, with Council also committing to a relief package for its impacted small and medium commercial and retail tenants.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the entire Sutherland Shire community, so our Phase 1 Relief Package, valued at over $900,000, gives consideration to all Council ratepayers, both residential and business,” he said.
“Business will have fees waived for outdoor dining, health inspections, business related compliance and A-frames, with the waivers backdated to cover the period from 23 March, 2020 through to 30 June, 2021.
“From 1 April, 2020 to 30 June, 2020 there will also be 0.00% Interest charged on overdue business and residential rates and charges, and a moratorium will be placed on all debt recovery legal action until 31 December, 2020.
"By not applying interest to overdue rates and charges, combined with the implementation of Council’s Debt Recovery and Hardship Policy, we'll be supporting businesses and residents who are having difficulties meeting their obligations to enter into payment arrangements without accruing any interest.
“This has been an extremely challenging time for everyone and I want to thank the committee of councillors who have worked extensively since our March Council meeting on developing this package to support our community."
Council also formally adopted the National Cabinet Mandatory Code of Conduct - Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Commercial Leasing Principles, which set out Commercial Leasing Principles for SME during the COVID-19 pandemic period.
“In addition to our Phase 1 COVID-19 Relief Package and in conjunction with Council’s Debt Recovery and Hardship Policy, the Code creates a consistent national response for Councils to commercial lease issues during the crisis and aims to ensure all small and medium enterprises have the best possible chance to restart their business activities post the pandemic,” Mayor Pesce added.
“The Mandatory Code applies to all commercial landlords and tenants and provides an open and transparent approach to assisting businesses that find themselves suffering financial distress and hardship as a result of COVID-19.”
Mayor Pesce also took the opportunity to thank the entire community for their support and commended them on their resilience during this challenging time.
“I want to thank our community for adhering to and supporting the directives of health authorities, ultimately helping to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our area and keep everyone safe,” he continued.
“I also want to thank, on behalf of our whole community, the frontline medical and emergency services staff who are supporting us all through this pandemic and acknowledge the support that has been provided to Council from the NSW Government.”
Further relief measures will also be considered as part of the Draft 2020/21 Operational Plan and Budget to be presented to Council in April, including extension of Phase 1 measures for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic period.
Businesses can apply for support by visiting sutherlandshire.nsw.gov.au/Business/Business-Support