Budget includes $7 million in COVID-19 support

Mackay Regional Council’s 2020-2021 Budget includes about $7 million in measures to assist businesses and residents during recovery from effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The $306 million budget adopted by council today forecasts a deficit of $5 million due to council’s COVID-19 assistance measures and substantial reductions in revenue.

The financially responsible budget has balanced delivering that COVID-19 support for the community with no cuts to service delivery and economic stimulus spending on infrastructure.

Mayor Greg Williamson said council had made a conscious decision to adopt a zero per cent change in rates revenue across all its rating categories due to the impact on the community of COVID-19.

“That means we are raising the same rates revenue that we did last financial year. That is no increase, despite the CPI for March 2020 being 1.8 per cent,’’ he said.

“We’d previously committed to keeping rates rises in line with CPI in our Long-Term Financial Forecast.

“This decision for a zero per cent movement in 2020-2021 will cost council in the order of $3.7 million”

Other COVID-19 support measures include the previously announced waiving of fees in the order of $1 million for businesses impacted by COVID-19.

The City Centre levy, which was halved in 2019-20, has now been abolished to further assist businesses.

In addition to support for businesses, council is also supporting the community with a
$1.2 million special COVID-19 grants package for not-for-profit sporting and community groups.

This is on top of an ongoing $500,000 community grants program.  The special COVID grant will provide additional income to those clubs struggling because of these unprecedented times.

Organisations will be able to apply for up to $5000 in assistance to help offset the impacts of restrictions that have been in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mackay Regional Council’s COVID-19 $7 million response

> $3.7 million – 0% rates change despite CPI being 1.8%

> $300,000 – freezing fees and charges

> $1 million – waiving fees and charges for businesses impacted by COVID-19

> $1.2 million – special Community Grants COVID-19 round

> Estimate $250,000 – 50 per cent reduction in development fees to September 30, 2020

> $550,000 – removal of City Centre levy