$3.5 million to help Hornsby Shire with COVID-19

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Hornsby Shire Council is deeply committed to the fight against COVID-19, with a support package estimated at $3.5 million until 30 June.

The Hornsby Helps package includes a range of measures designed to assist residents, businesses and community organisations.

Its key elements are foregoing rent, waiving fees and providing rate relief where needed.

“This is an unprecedented situation and Council is determined to do everything possible to help the members of our community through these difficult times,” Hornsby Shire Mayor Philip Ruddock said.

“We want to lighten the load wherever we can, to make sure we all come through this together and can get back on our feet as quickly as possible.

"I want to thank all of my fellow Councillors for their supportive approach to help our community."

Fee waivers, refunds and discounts have been offered for:

  • Outdoor dining permits on Council land
  • Use of sports clubs and community facilities under leasing arrangements
  • Commercial tenants in Council owned properties (excluding telco towers, car parking spaces and Westfield)
  • Residential tenants in Council owned properties
  • Operators of education and care services in Council owned properties (if, and when, they are closed)
  • Booking and hire fees for the use of community centres, ovals, parks and playing fields, lighting costs, admission and service fees, inspection and infringement fees

Council will also allow ratepayers to defer payments without penalty where hardship is established.

“These measures will be in place until the end of June, for those who can demonstrate need, but will be extended if required,” Mr Ruddock said.

“Council is experiencing severe income losses at the moment, the same as every other organisation, but we will continue to search for ways to help the community.”

Council is also doing what it can to support local businesses by using local suppliers wherever possible and fast-tracking local suppliers onto its procurement list.

“We will provide immediate payment to local businesses for services rendered, to increase their cash flow and prop up our local economy,” Mr Ruddock said.

“We have also created a database of information on state and federal government assistance to businesses, which can be accessed from our website.”

Another key measure has been the suspension of restrictions on truck movements and delivery times, to help local supermarkets keep their shelves stocked during these times of heightened demand.

“These are the most readily identifiable steps that Council is undertaking, but they are barely scratching the surface of everything we are doing to help the community,” Mr Ruddock said.

“Every department is actively looking for ways to assist people during these tough times.

“They range from increased efforts within our libraries to provide online resources, for people isolated at home, to the tireless work of our community development team in helping vulnerable members of our community.

“We are all affected by this crisis and we will only get through it by supporting each other – we are all in this together.”

Council will be provided with an updated report on COVID-19 at next week’s general meeting, which will be available on Council’s website.