The coronavirus has led to closure of many council facilities putting up to 45,000 jobs at risk.
Currently ineligible for the JobKeeper package local councils are already laying off thousands of employees.
Sutherland Shire Council, in the Prime Minister’s own electorate, has already stood down 260 casual workers.
Councils receive revenue from two main sources; fees for community facilities, like pools, community halls and child care, and the rates they charge for garbage, roads and park maintenance.
With most community facilities closed, councils face a significant loss in revenue. Blacktown Council alone is losing 1.7 million per month in fees for services they have had to close.
With many councils about to issue rate notices, revenue will also be massively under pressure as the economic impact of the coronavirus hits ratepayers.
Many councils are preparing for a greater level of rate defaults, or deferrals of rates, to help ratepayers.
The federal government has said that help for councils and their staff is a matter for the states.
The fact is councils and council workers need the help of both federal and state governments.
There are a number ways this problem can be fixed.
Any solution should involve a commitment of no job losses and rate relief to those that need it.
Local government is the level of government closest to every Australian. The people it employs and the services it provides are the backbone of our local communities.
Not only are councils important now, they will be incredibly important as we come out of this crisis. They will drive the community infrastructure projects to get this economy going again.
TUESDAY, 7 APRIL 2020