Hard-hit Brisbane residents and businesses reeling from coronavirus impacts have received up to $31 million in Brisbane City Council rates deferrals.
Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said since announcing council’s rates relief package on March 23, more than 4200 residents and businesses have sought to defer payment of their rates for up to nine months.
“The financial impacts of the coronavirus pandemic have been swift and catastrophic for residents, businesses, clubs and organisations and every level of government,” Cr Schrinner said.
“We are all facing a long road to recovery, but it is one that will be guided by sound economic management as well as compassion for those who are suffering through job losses or loss of business because of national social distancing and travel lockdowns.
“This is an economic disaster for many people, but we will recover, and council will take a sympathetic view if residents or businesses are struggling to pay their rates.”
Cr Schrinner said this year’s Budget, which will be handed down on June 17, will be crucial in ensuring Council can navigate through the coronavirus pandemic fallout.
“The 2020/21 Budget will be one of the most challenging this council will ever hand down. No one could ever have foreseen the billions of dollars in lost revenue and mass unemployment across the city, the state and Australia, and ramifications for our budgets,” he said.
“This Budget will be about responsible, steady economic management balancing continuing to stimulate the local economy, through job-creating infrastructure projects, with some difficult decisions. We are also working to balance the costs of coronavirus response initiatives and loss of revenue streams with the essential services we deliver every day.
“The newly-established Economic Recovery Taskforce, which is led by Council as well as key Brisbane stakeholders, will be crucial to our recovery.
“The Economic Recovery Taskforce will inform the vital decision-making steps to rebuild Brisbane’s economy and is expected to be in place for several years to help businesses recover following the crisis.
“We are facing one of the biggest financial challenges in our history, but we are facing it with the strength, the experience and the good judgement needed to deliver for Brisbane residents, while honouring my long-term vision for a better Brisbane of tomorrow.
“Businesses have also been a focus for council with a $7.9 million business recovery package to waive fees, charges and rents until June 30 and we switched off parking meters and slashed all day parking at council car parks to support essential services workers and residents financially during this tough time.
“We will continue to deliver road and footpath upgrades, maintain our libraries, parks and pools and keep the ball rolling on free off-peak travel for seniors and 50 per cent rates discounts for first home buyers and also deliver a budget that will put us in best position to focus on delivering for the people of Brisbane through our recovery phase.
“We will continue to deliver projects that will stimulate the economy and create jobs including the Brisbane Metro, Brisbane’s biggest green space in 50 years at Victoria Park and five new green bridges across the Brisbane river.”