The COVID19 pandemic has impacted every Australian home, business and community. Councils are used to stepping up in emergencies. They are frequently the first port of call for community guidance and support, while continuing to deliver essential services and leading recovery. To support communities and stop the spread of COVID-19 throughout the pandemic, Tasmanian councils have collectively provided over $40 million in relief measures. These have included deferral of rates payments, waiving penalties for late payments, turning off interest for outstanding rates, suspending debt recovery actions, waiving fees and charges, providing rent relief on council owned buildings, paying their incoming bills more quickly and offering community grants a 0% increase in rates for 2020-21.
Councils also implemented a range of other initiatives to support their communities such as assistance for community groups, establishing community hotlines and dedicated COVID-19 pages on their websites. Many council provisioned online resources for children and families, implemented or supported buy local campaigns and facilitated local counselling services and networking to support local businesses.
Local Government is now supporting community recovery. As with other disasters or emergencies, the essential role of councils in recovery is well documented and appreciated, and councils will be doing even more during this phase. In Tasmania our state approach to recovery is being led by the Premier’s Economic and Social Recovery Advisory Council (PESRAC). PESRAC has recommended implementing a regionally-based model for coordinating the recovery journey; a key recommendation which LGAT supports. By building and revitalising local economies, we can create resilient and diverse communities throughout Tasmania. Ultimately, recovery will require considerable effort and a variety of strategies which places Local Government in the unique position of partnering with the State Government and other stakeholders to drive regional reconstruction and deliver a prosperous and resilient Tasmania.
How to be Covid-safe
Social Distancing and Awareness of Restrictions
Stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Be aware of, and follow, current gathering, business and travel restrictions.
Wash Your Hands Often
Wash your hands often with soap and warm water. Use alcohol-based hand sanitiser when out and about.
If Unwell Stay Home & Get Tested
Stay at home if you are unwell and always cover coughs and sneezes. Get tested for COVID-19 if you have any cold or flu-like symptoms.
How LGAT is advocating for our Members
The Premier’s Economic and Social Recovery Advisory Committee (PESRAC) Submissions
LGAT's most recent submission to PESRAC "Tasmania's Recovery - a plan to recover, build resilience and reinvent" focuses on planning for Tasmania’s long-term recovery. While the work of PESRAC is important, it must integrate with our existing local and regional networks effectively and recovery must start "in place". We welcome Recommendation 63 from PESRAC’s Interim Report, July 2020, which states: “The State Government should implement a regionally-based model for coordinating the recovery journey.”
Our first Submission to PESRAC focused on impacts of COVID-19 experienced by councils and the local communities they support and represent. Tasmanian councils have made significant financial and human resource investment in responding to covid-19 * all councils and communities will be impacted differently and have different pathways to recovery.
Collaboration with State Government
LGAT is working closely with the Tasmanian State Government on a daily basis across a number of policy areas to provide strategic advice and ensure Local Government and community issues are considered. Policy areas include:
- State Control Centre
- DPAC and Office of Security and Emergency Management
- Emergency Management and Recovery
- Statewide Communications and Community Information via the COVID Public Information Unit
Peak Bodies Shared Statement
LGAT has joined with 10 other Tasmanian peak bodies to develop a shared statement of intention for engaging Tasmanians in recovery and rebuilding. Collectively this group of peak bodies represents the majority of Tasmanians and are committed to supporting individuals and communities as we response to COVID-19 and into the future.
We want all Tasmanians to have the same opportunities to rebuild and believe this is critical to achieving that is conversations and solutions that are tailored for diverse communities. Engagement with Tasmanians must consider barriers to participation and there should be open and transparent sharing of data between Governments, peak bodies and other stakeholders.
A copy of this Statement has been provided to the Premier and the Premier’s Economic and Social Recovery Advisory Committee with the view seeking their commitment to these principles and to broaden understanding of the way in which peak bodies can support recovery processes; including using our extensive networks into communities to facilitate engagement. The statement can be read here.
LGAT Member Resources
LGAT Council Meeting and COVID-19 Safety Plan Guide *updated 5.11.2020 - view here
LGAT Remote Meeting Guide - view here
Please view this video for tips on how to be an effective Chair in a remote meeting. View here
Template Financial Hardship Policy to help councils assess the unique circumstances and challenges that ratepayers are likely to face as a consequence of the COVID-19 Pandemic view here.
Draft Commercial Hardship addendum - view here
Template Application Form for Financial Hardship - view here
Waste Management - Things we can do to help assist waste overload during the current pandemic view here
State Government Coronavirus website: coronavirus.tas.gov.au
Tasmanian Councils' measures to assist communities during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Measures Tasmanian councils have proposed or endorsed as of 1 September view here. This page will be updated as measures are endorsed at council meetings.
Many Councils are also listing information and support measures on their websites. You can find your Council's website listed here
Message from LGAT President - Local Government is here to help 6 April 2020 view here.
MR - 22 May 2020 Additional Roads and Community Infrastructure Funding Welcomed view here
LGAT Opinion Editorial "Councils are supporting their communities while shouldering a share of the COVID-19 burden" -20 April view here
MR - 27 March 2020 LGAT General Meeting outcomes including in principle Member actions re COVID-19 and praise for State Government Stimulus Response 27 March view here.
Letter to Prime Minister - JobKeeper Payments Initiative view here.