“I am proud to share the details of our new ‘Regenerate Together’ package, which has today been endorsed by Council,” said Shire President Lynne Craigie OAM.
“The package delivers over $1.5 million of immediate relief measures targeting those hardest hit by the crisis, designed to help individuals and small business ease the burden from forced closures and job losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” she added.
“I am also excited to announce Council has committed to bring forward $7 million dollars of capital works to upgrade Marble Bar airport. The project will be in partnership with a local gold mining company – Calidus Resources Limited. This will provide a significant economic boost, by not only stimulating our local and regional economy, but also by opening up a raft of opportunities across the Shire of East Pilbara.”
“The Marble Bar Airport is one of the most significant investment decisions I’ve seen in my time on the Shire’s Council and the airport will open opportunities for larger chartered flights such as 100 seater Jet planes to come in and out of Marble Bar.”
“As leaders of our community, the health and wellbeing of our residents is our primary role and consequently we plan to implement these actions as soon as possible,” she added.
Both measures are designed to support East Pilbara residents and the local economy respond to, and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new financial initiatives for the Shire of East Pilbara will be clearly identified as part of the Regenerate Together plan, and residents and small businesses can expect to hear more details within the next few weeks.
The Shire will use the #regeneratetogether tagline to identify this financial relief and stimulus package so residents can clearly identify where the financial help from the Shire has been directed.
The new program does not replace the many other programs and initiatives the Shire has been working on alongside our partners, to support our community, during the COVID19 pandemic. These other programs such as Newman Futures - Stronger Together with Creating Communities, Newman Airport Social Distancing with BHP, and suite of programs developed with community partners, will continue to provide communities in each of our towns with practical support.
The Shire of East Pilbara Regenerate Together plan includes:
$1.5 million of economic relief measures focused on financial assistance schemes and sweeping changes to the payments of rates and fees.
Highlights include a zero rate increase in the coming budget, a freeze to almost all fees and charges, a 5% rates refund to owner occupiers, small businesses and pastoralists and a series of measures and grants schemes designed to help small business.
- Freezing rates for the 2020-21 financial year and a 5% refund to eligible ratepayers
- Endorsement of Financial Hardship (rates relief) Policy
- Waiver fees associated with rates installment payments for ratepayers facing financial hardship
- Waiver penalty interest on 2020-21 rates for ratepayers facing financial hardship
- Increased flexible payment options for ratepayers and debtors facing financial hardship
- Suspension of any new debt collection activities for 6 months
- Deferral of select annual fees and charges for 6 months
- Rental payment waivers of 50% for 6 months for eligible Airport tenants
- Rental payment waivers of 50% for 6 months for Newman House tenants, for eligible tenants
- New $50,000 buy local ‘East Pilbara Dollars’ Project
- New $100,000 for one-on-one support for local small businesses
- New $150,000 COVID-19 Support and Recovery Grants Program
- Full refund on cancelled bookings at Shire owned facilities
- Freezing all Shire recreational memberships
- Express turnover of development approval applications
- Free extension of development approval applications.
Agreement to bring forward the project of the redevelopment of the Marble Bar airport at a cost of $6,925,984.
This significant project will provide a range of economic benefits for the western edge of the Shire, and it is hoped construction will begin before the end of the year, and be operational by the second half of 2021. Council has agreed to allocate $3 million of initial funding in the 2020/21 budget for the project, the remaining funding will be allocated during 2020/21 with a $2 million contribution from Calidus Resources Limited.