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Douglas Shire Council / COVID-19 relief package

Council yesterday unanimously resolved to endorse a $179,000 COVID-19 relief package to ease pressure on businesses and residents suffering financial stress in the Shire.

NATALIE JOHNSON


Council yesterday unanimously resolved to endorse a $179,000 COVID-19 relief package to ease pressure on businesses and residents suffering financial stress in the Shire.

Relief measures endorsed include:

• Waiving interest on rates and water from 24 March 2020 to 30 June 2020
• Removing rates dishonour admin fees from 24 March 2020 to 30 June 2020
• Pensioner remission application dates extended to 30 June 2020
• Credit or refund all outdoor dining fees 23 March 2020 to 30 June 2020
• Refund all venue hire fees cancelled due to COVID-19
• Rent relief for all Council commercial tenants suffering financial stress or hardship due to COVID-19, as defined by their eligibility for the Commonwealth Government’s Jobkeeper program for the period 1 April 2020 – 30 June 2020
• Wonga Beach Caravan Park income relief 1 April 2020 – 30 June 2020

The relief package measures and associated revenue losses due to COVID-19 will contribute to an approximate $1.4 million operating deficit with Chief Financial Officer Tara Killeen commenting “the biggest negative impacts we are expecting are associated with the (loss of) Daintree Ferry (revenue), lower water usage and lost revenue from facilities and markets.”

Cr. Noli, in a nod to the previous Council’s forecasted budget surplus for the year ending 30 June 2020, commented to the motion stating she was “glad we are in a position to offer this and hope it does offer a little bit of respite and relief.”

Prior to the unprecedented effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms Killeen advised Council financials were tracking “$1.6 million ahead of budget” in the March financial reporting period noting revenue was over budget and operational expenses under budget.

Council officers will continue to monitor the budget and provide cost-saving advice to Councillors.
📷 Sassi Cucina e Bar

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