Here’s a snapshot of what you’ve been telling us over the past two weeks about the impacts to your business and some of the conversations around economic support and recovery.
A number of members have spoken about the importance of shovel ready projects as a direct form of stimulus that the State Government can bring forward. Although the work of Infrastructure WA has been put on hold due to COVID-19, we continue to look at various projects mooted around Perth and continue discussions with State Government stakeholders to identify these project opportunities. An obvious opportunity is for Local Governments to spend the balance of funds of Developer Contributions for Community Infrastructure.
Relief from rates, fees and charges
Given the imperative for businesses to maintain cash flow, Members are seeking support from all levels of government for relief from taxes, rates, fees and charges. Any savings will be spent by businesses to retain their employees through this challenging time.
The collection or use of developer contributions, extending to percent for art schemes and other forms of levies on the development industry, has been flagged by many of you. We are channelling these concerns directly to government to ensure that the planning and development industries can continue to operate with certainty during this turbulent period.
Clarification around which professions and businesses are considered essential services remains a concern for members. Our 13-point plan submitted to the State Government raised this issue directly and our national team continue to work on this matter with the Federal Government as well.
Continuity of Government
There has been some uncertainty around how government – both at State and local levels – will continue to operate while various COVID-19 restrictions remain in place. This includes the need for governments to explain to the community how they will enact work at home or other ongoing operational requirements to ensure government keeps going.
It would appear that many local governments have closed their administration buildings but will continue to work from home. This brings challenges for local governments where planning documents must be submitted in physical form and this is an issue we continue to monitor.
Some members have flagged examples of where funding terms have already been reduced or cut entirely if certain debt facilities hadn’t already been taken up. This is causing strong concern as it has various flow on effects from a cash flow perspective. The banking and finance industry has announced some measures of relief for customers, including recent announcements around commercial landlord relief, but there remains a range of other issues in this space that remain unresolved.