The NSW Labor Opposition has branded the Berejiklian Government’s $350 million Local Government stimulus package as being too late for many NSW Councils after weeks of uncertainty for local governments and local government workers.
Labor has also raised serious concerns that $250 million, the vast majority of funding in the package, is to be allocated as loans to councils, instead of direct funding for shovel ready projects.
Labor Shadow Minister for Local Government Greg Warren said: “What has been announced today by the Berejiklian Government is simply too late for many councils by any measure.”
“Instead of being proactive when councils were first looking for assistance and leadership, the Government has been reactive and in the mean time councils have been forced to stop projects, cut services, lose money and let staff go. This could have all been avoided had the government acted sooner.”
“These loans are a slap in the face for local governments across NSW, particularly to those councils who can’t even apply for grant funding in normal circumstances due to the co-contribution component.”
“Now after what is effectively the third crisis faced by councils and their communities, including prolonged drought and bushfires, the government has generously asked Councils to pay back this supposed stimulus, with interest.”
“A greater debt burden will not see the local government sector emerge successfully from the coronavirus crisis”, Mr Warren said.