Extraordinary Council Meeting

16 April 2020

















You are hereby notified that an Extraordinary Council Meeting of Liverpool City Council will be held on-line on Thursday, 16 April 2020 commencing at 6.00pm.


Liverpool City Council Meetings are posted onto Council’s website and remain on Council’s website for a period of 12 months.  If you have any enquiries, please contact Council and Executive Services on 8711 7584.




Kiersten Fishburn








Order of Business




Acknowledgement of Country and Prayer



Declarations of Interest

Chief Executive Officer Report

CEO 01           COVID-19 - Liverpool City Council Response.......................................................................................................... 4  




Extraordinary Meeting

16 April 2020

Chief Executive Officer Report



CEO 01

COVID-19 - Liverpool City Council Response


Strategic Direction

Leading through Collaboration

Seek efficient and innovative methods to manage our resources

File Ref


Report By

Andrew Stevenson - Chief Strategy and Engagement Officer

Approved By

Kiersten Fishburn - Chief Executive Officer



Executive Summary


Two Councillor Briefing Sessions have been held with Council’s Executive Team to discuss initiatives and budget implications in relation to COVID-19.


The report proposes a number of initiatives and seeks endorsement and direction from Council on these matters.




That Council consider the 17 Initiatives outlined in the report and resolve whether to endorse, reject or amend the course of action outlined in each Initiative.




Outlined below are a number of initiatives and budget implications in relation to COVID-19.


It is recommended that Council consider the 17 Initiatives outlined in the report and resolve whether to endorse, reject or amend the course of action outlined in each Initiative.


The report seeks direction from Council on these matters.




1. Initiative

Direct the CEO to maintain Council’s existing permanent workforce to ensure Council has the continuing capacity to support service delivery and provide employment (and remuneration) to its employees.

Rationale for Action


As at 29 February 2020, Council employed 770.48 FTE employees (of which 103 were casual employees).  For the pay period ending 8 April 2020, there were 61 casuals paid.


To date, Council has implemented the following workforce management strategies:

·    A recruitment freeze has been placed on filling all permanent roles;

·    Employees working under the flex time scheme have been reverted to standard hours for their classification and role; and

·    No overtime is to be worked without express permission of the CEO.

There are other additional mechanisms which the CEO can proceed with if necessary. This includes ending all casual employment arrangements and directing all employees to take excess annual leave (subject to the provisions of the Joint Statement between the Union and LGNSW – third version pending). Subject to industrial changes, these levers can and will be used to manage Council’s budget and cashflow.


On 17 March 2020, Local Government NSW (LGNSW), the New South Wales Local Government, Clerical, Administrative, Energy, Airlines and Utilities Union (USU), Local Government Engineers Association (LGEA), and Development and Environmental Professionals Association (depa), issued a Joint Statement to provide guidance to local government employers and employees on how to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. It made the following statement in the situation where a workplace is closed:


“Where the workplace is closed the following approach will be taken:

i.    the employer will make arrangements for the employee to work remotely

ii.   where it is not possible to work remotely, the employee will be placed on paid special leave for the entirety of the closure unless:

a.   the employee is directed, within the limited circumstances of subclause 21D(v) of the Award, to take annual leave; or

b.   the employee is directed, within the limited circumstances described in subclause 21E(iii) of the Award, to take long service leave”

The Joint Statement also made reference to a “regular casual employee”, and states that in the situation of a regular casual employee is unable to perform their regular shift due to closure, they would have eligibility for payment of Special Leave for a period of up to four weeks.


Financial Implications


19/20 financial year


A Council-wide recruitment freeze is estimated to generate cost savings of $1.6m to 30 June 2020. The savings include some budgeted but vacant positions.


Cost savings and compensation, if any, from termination of casual/temporary staff will depend on the number of FTEs, their grades and date of cessation. 


20/21 financial year (first three months)


Continuation of recruitment freeze for three months in 2020/21 will generate additional cost savings of $795,000.


Any relevant Federal or State Government actions/initiatives


Local Government has been explicitly excluded from the Federal Government’s JobKeeper Scheme.


However, the CEO will continue to advocate to provide a support scheme to partially assist with the retention of Local Government staff.





2. Initiative


Direct the CEO to establish a ‘COVID-19 Emergency Response Program’ to action timely requests for Council support toward critical and essential services for vulnerable community groups in Liverpool, including allocation of funds for provision of food, accommodation and PPE.


The scope of this Program is to include the following financial and in-kind initiatives:

·     Keep open public amenities at Bigge Park, Collimore Park, Lighthorse Park and Seton Hall (Moorebank) 24/7 so that rough sleepers and the general public have access to soap and water at all times, to wash their hands; 

·     Provide access to shower facilities at Francis Greenway Centre two to three days a week for rough sleepers;

·     Provide access for government agencies and charities to utilise Council facilities to deliver critical services such as food sorting and distribution;

·     Run a campaign to encourage food donations to designated charities;

·     Allocate funds to purchase food and hygiene supplies for rough sleepers and charities from existing budgets;

·     Allocate funds toward essential relief services in Liverpool; and

·     Coordinate provision of food and essential services to vulnerable groups in Liverpool.

Rationale for Action


Failure to provide additional services and facilities for the most vulnerable at a time of increased economic and social risks could inadvertently lead to secondary social and public health problem. By using Council’s convening authority, the Community Development team can partner with other government, Not For Profit and Charitable sectors to co-ordinate the provision of services to the most needy and vulnerable, thus maximising available resources.


Financial Implications


Allocate a budget of up to $90,000 from the existing funds in the Grants and Donations Program.


Actions to implement, including communications, risk mitigation


All actions being implemented as part of Council’s community response have been undertaken in consultation with Council’s Legal and Risk Management departments. Community-led initiatives are reviewed and assessed for relevance, suitability and sustainability by the Community Development and Planning team. Suitable initiatives are reviewed and approved by Council’s Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) before implementation.


The Community Development and Planning team remain in constant communication with the community organisations and charity groups who are leading these initiatives to offer ongoing support and resources, ensuring service sustainability and compliance with WHS and relevant safety recommendations.


The expenditure of funds from the existing grants budget will be undertaken through the following procedure:


·    Requests for funds are to be assessed by the Community Development team to ensure general eligibility criteria under the Grants, Donations and Corporate Sponsorship Policy are met.

·    To ensure a speedy response, the recommended expenditure of funds be approved by the CEO and enacted under Mayoral Directive.

·    Measures to evaluate outcomes be developed and documented; and reports on expenditure and outcomes be submitted to Council at each monthly meeting. 


Any relevant Federal or State Government actions/initiatives


Council is not aware of any proposed programs emanating from State or Federal Governments that might reduce the operational costs of these programs.


The State Government is offering a number of emergency relief and support services including access to cost of living support for community members who are experiencing financial hardship, immediate income assistance and emergency care packages for those required to self-isolate.





3. Initiative:

Support businesses specialising in hospitality, retail, tourism and leisure by allocating funds from the CDF for a Rebuilding Liverpool’s Economy package to support businesses in the Liverpool CBD affected by the crisis; 


Also offer this support package to impacted businesses beyond the CBD, with a separate funding allocation.


Rationale for Action


Small businesses have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis and thousands of local jobs have been lost. 


In the past two weeks Council’s City Economy Unit contacted more than 200 businesses in a range of sectors and learnt first-hand the effect on the local economy.


Quick, decisive action is required, followed by incremental progress towards longer term recovery and sustainability over the next 12-18 months, to support businesses and mitigate the loss of local jobs. Working with Council’s key allies in the public and private sectors, it is anticipated that these interventions will stem the loss, restore and potentially grow, thousands of jobs in the LGA.


Financial Implications


19/20 Financial Year


Approximately $110,000 can be re-allocated from the CDF funds collected this financial year to support businesses in the CBD, where the CDF applies. 


To support businesses outside the CBD, a separate allocation of approximately $100,000 will be made.  This allocation will be supported by funds available from wage reductions that Council staff have made voluntarily, in response to the current economic conditions.


The promotional initiatives indicated below and a criteria-based grants program would be rolled out for the remainder of this financial year.


Actions to implement, including communications, risk mitigation


The Rebuilding Liverpool’s Economy package will include a Buy Local and Support Program which would consist of the following initiatives:


·    Develop an online “Still Open for Business” database and promotion (social media, print media) which leverages the #LoveLivo brand

·    A #LoveLivo social media competition focussing on events for the recovery phase

·    Development of a virtual activation and events program to allow the community to continue to engage with local assets i.e. CPAC, Liverpool Museum, local artists and musicians,

·    Roll out a grants program targeting CBD businesses affected by the crisis to facilitate the development of an online and digital marketing presence.

The grants program would require the appointment of a pre-qualified preferred supplier list of digital marketing professionals. Successful applicants would only be able to spend allocated funds with these suppliers. Applicants would be required to use the #LoveLivo brand in all social media marketing related to the program.


Expenditure of CDF funds on these programs in the Liverpool CBD aligns with the CDF Policy which allows for economic development and marketing of the CBD.


Please note, as the policy is due for revision in 2020, it is recommended the guidelines are revised to factor in economic shock due to market downturns.


Any relevant Federal or State Government actions/initiatives


The State Government has provided Council funding for the Love Livo Nights events series. These funds are now on hold until social distancing guidelines are lifted.


A range of support programs and funding initiatives for small business were announced by Federal and State Governments in the past three weeks. The City Economy Unit continues to monitor these and advise local business accordingly. There may also be an opportunity to leverage additional State Government funds for digital marketing support for CBD businesses and the unit will continue to explore those options.

4. Initiative:


Direct Council to implement a Business to Consumer program for non-retail businesses (eg manufacturers, wholesalers, transport and logistics companies) to facilitate an effective pivot of their existing business models; to deliver a Business Resilience webinar series to local businesses; support local businesses to pivot towards resilient operations; develop a digital ready grants program for businesses outside the CBD; and support skills development of people who become unemployed or are redeployed, by working with them and with tertiary institutions. All businesses in the LGA (in particular those outside the CBD) would be supported by this initiative.


Rationale for Action


Thousands of local jobs have been lost, or are at risk of disappearing, as local businesses have experience severe impacts from the pandemic crisis. The City Economy Unit has contacted and offered support to more than 200 businesses during the past two weeks, many of which have been severely impacted. Supply chains have been severely disrupted and, in some cases, business models have completely been “broken”. These actions are required so businesses can recover quickly, and local jobs can be restored and/or retained, once the situation improves.


Financial Implications


19/20 Financial Year


The Business to Consumer (B2C) program would initially be managed within existing budgets but would synergise with the other business resilience programs as proposed. The Business Resilience webinar can be funded via the existing City Economy operational budget ($15,000).


A pre-qualified preferred supplier list of local transport companies offering B2C delivery capability would be established by Council to facilitate connections to businesses experiencing disruption. The cost of establishing and promoting this service would be around $25,000, which would be funded from existing City Economy operational budget.


20/21 financial year


Not applicable.


Actions to implement, including communications, risk mitigation


Council’s City Economy team, with Council’s Communications and Procurement units, will implement these programs. City Economy will continue to reach out to offer support to the 16,000 businesses based in the LGA.

The B2C program would initially require the development of a database of relevant suppliers and tools for building the network. It would also support new business formation ie local delivery and transport providers. The preferred B2C supplier list, although offering pre-qualified providers, would not be an exclusive list but merely a database of suppliers for easy referral to local business.


Webinars are a successful means of delivering education to a large number of people via a remote platform and can be quickly and cost effectively rolled out to the business community.


A grants program for businesses outside the CBD would require the appointment of a pre-qualified preferred supplier list of digital marketing professionals. Successful applicants would then be advised that only these suppliers should be used for expenditure of allocated funds. Applicants would also be required to reference the Council brand in all social media marketing related to the program.


The City Economy team will continue to provide support for local businesses about existing and ongoing government support and assist businesses to pivot towards resilient operations including building new networks, establishing new supply chains and marketing channels.


Actions undertaken already during the crisis to date by City Economy have included:


·    Referring exporters to pivoting opportunities as identified

·    Advocating for removal of supply chain blockages, assisting to pivot supply chains

·    Assisting state government and other council departments to access local suppliers of PPE and other medical equipment

·    Advocating for government funding to assist local businesses affected by the crisis

·    Advocating for and assisting with development of “shovel ready” projects for government funding to assist the local economy

·    Encouraging local cafes and restaurants to use the #lovelivo so locals know how they can support local small businesses and order delivery

·    Contacted over 200 businesses offering support and strengthening networks

·    Linking business with in-market specialists to assist with new business opportunities locally and overseas

·    Providing feedback to the NSW government’s Western Sydney Industry Attraction Office, to provide in market updates via webinars on certain segments for SMEs

·    Working with Council’s Procurement team on local procurement opportunities ie developing buy local campaign

·    Advocating for business and consumers to #LoveLivo during self-isolation

·    Researching online webinars for delivery to local businesses

·    Building a database of local job opportunities for displaced workers

·    Liaising with and supporting various business networks such as the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce

·    Production and distribution of three (3) newsletters direct to the local business community with information on support available during the crisis

The City Economy team will continue these and other activities/services for the business community during the crisis and beyond, as the local economy moves towards the recovery phase.


Any relevant Federal or State Government actions/initiatives


Various support programs and funding initiatives have been announced by the Federal and State Governments for small and larger businesses and City Economy continues to monitor these and advise local business accordingly.


Early indications are that additional funding support for webinars with a Building Business Resilience theme could be available from government over coming months.


In addition, funding and advice assistance is available for the reskilling and upskilling of people who will find themselves unemployed or redeployed during this time.  Council will play a facilitation role between this group and the tertiary institutions who will deliver these types of programs.





5. Initiative:

Manage metered parking on-street and in the Bathurst Street, Norfolk Serviceway, Northumberland Street and Warren Serviceway car parks to ensure that there is sufficient supply of parking available, particularly the Warren Serviceway car park, for essential workers;


Note that:


-     Council is introducing a parking permit system that currently provides free parking for:

200 essential workers within the Warren Serviceway car park; and

80 Centrelink staff within the Northumberland Street carpark.

-     All metered parking in the city centre provides for 30 mins free parking to support parking needs of the broader community for shopping and to access essential services during this period.


Rationale for Action


Traffic volumes in the city centre have reduced significantly, as reflected in the reduced paid parking ticket sales.


Paid parking ensures regular turn-over of parking spaces, benefitting local business with higher pedestrian foot traffic.  With the current reduced traffic volumes and parking restrictions maintained, adequate turnover of parking can be maintained.


Much of the demand for parking in the city centre is presently taken up by business owners and their staff who are struggling to maintain viable businesses in the circumstances.  Other users include workers in essential services.


Removing the ticket cost of parking has been considered and, whilst it would not have a significant budget impact beyond what is already being experienced from the reduced demand for parking, maintaining metered parking on and off street is considered the best means to ensure fair access to parking for the broader community and to manage the supply of parking for essential workers.  As noted above a parking permit system will allow free parking for these users for the duration of the crisis.  


Council is making 200 free car parking spaces available in Warren Serviceway carpark to essential workers such as from NSW Health, NSW Police and Family and Community Services. At least 80 free parking permits are also being provided to Centrelink staff in the Northumberland Street carpark.  The amount of parking permits can be monitored based on the demand for parking by these users.


The above recommendation responds to valid issues raised by Councillors at the briefing on Wednesday 7 April 2020. 


Financial Implications


Council currently provides paid and time restricted parking across most streets in the Liverpool city centre and in the Northumberland Street, Norfolk Serviceway, Bathurst Street and Warren Serviceway parking stations.


Revenue from ticket sales across these facilities has declined by approximately 90% over the past few weeks as a result of the impact of Covid-19.


This is expected to further decline during the current period of restrictions on public gathering and movement.

19/20 financial year


The combined revenue of ticket sales for the 2019/20 financial year is budgeted at $3.4m.


Based on the existing reduction of ticket sales the impact for the remainder of this financial is estimated at $650,000.


If all parking metres were to be turned off:

-     for the remainder of the 2019/20 financial year the financial impact would be $725,000.

-     additional cost to prepare and place free parking stickers on 131 parking meters is estimated at $2000. A fee of $20,000 per month is payable to the company that maintains the parking meters and call centre service, preventative and reactive maintenance and management licence fee, as well as a fee of $3500 for parking meter cash collection. Council would however seek to negotiate with the service providers for a reduction or abatement of these fees, which the service providers are not obliged to accept.

20/21 financial year


Parking ticket sales are likely to continue to decline for the duration of the restriction on public movement and gathering and the recovery toward normal ticket sales would be slow.


If parking meters were turned off there would be a budget impact of $725,000 through until the end of September 2020.


Actions to implement, including communications, risk mitigation


Sufficient parking is available in the Warren Serviceway and Northumberland Street carparks to meet the needs of essential workers. A parking permit system for these workers is being implemented with passes now issued to NSW Health and to Centrelink.


Any decision to manage existing parking to support the needs of essential workers would be communicated as a positive community message via Council’s website and local news media and to key stakeholders.


Any relevant Federal or State Government actions/initiatives


Recent commentary by the State and Federal government in the media has encouraged councils to provide free parking for essential workers where possible. Council has written to the NSW Government requesting that it waive parking fees at Liverpool Hospital.



6. Initiative

Liverpool Animal Shelter to remain open with restricted access to the public, including ceasing rehoming involving the meet and greet process.


Rationale for Action


In response to Covid-19 pandemic, measures need to be put in place to comply with Public Health Orders and other advice from NSW Health.


As such, face-to-face contact with the public needs to be reduced.  New processes and safety measures have been put in place to ensure the health and safety of staff, at the same time allowing pet owners to safely reclaim their animals.


Financial implications


2019/2020 Financial year


These actions will reduce the number of animals rehomed and increase the requests for waiving of fees for impounded animals due to financial hardship.


The revenue for the financial year from impounded and rehomed animals is $70,000.  The financial impact due to the new measures is likely to reduce revenue by approximately $15,000.


Actions to be implement including communication, risk mitigation


The initiative has commenced, with a message on Council’s website and Facebook.


Any relevant Federal or State Government actions/initiatives


In line with advice provided by the Office of Local Government.



7. Initiative

Direct officers to apply discretion when issuing infringements, while protecting public health and safety.  In that regard, fines will only be issued in the following circumstances:


·    Parking in a “No Stopping” and “No Parking” zones and in close proximity to an intersection;

·    Trucks parking in residential areas in excess of one hour;

·    Parking on nature strips where it causes an obstruction to pedestrians and/or a blind spot for drivers exiting their driveways;

·    Environmental pollution incidents; and

·    Dog attacks.


Rationale for action


Council must be mindful of the current circumstances when issuing fines.  However, the local community will continue to look to Council to protect them from harm when unlawful behaviour has occurred.  For that reason, unlawful behaviour that impacts on public health and safety should continue to be infringed.


Financial implications


2019/2020 Financial year


An expected reduction of $720,000 in revenue for 2019/2020 financial year from reducing the number of fines issued can be broken into the following categories:

·    Parking fines reduction $600,000 (Budget $2.5 million);

·    Animal Ranger fines $30,000 (Budget $100,000)

·    General Ranger fines $60,000 (Budget $212,000)

·    Building & Compliance $10,000 (Budget $35,632)

·    Environmental Health $12,000 (Budget $31,835)


2020/21 Financial year


The financial impact in first three months of 2020/21 will be same as above.



Actions to be implemented, including communications, risk mitigation


The initiative can be implemented immediately.  It can be communicated to the community in general terms, with advice that officers will apply discretion when taking enforcement action ensuring the public health and safety is not compromised.


Any relevant Federal or State Government actions/initiatives


Supported by Office of Local Government advice to Councils undertaking regulatory functions during COVID-19 pandemic.




8. Initiative

Suspend all health inspection fees payable across the LGA and refund any fees paid since 1 April 2020.


Rationale for action


Food and drink premises including restaurants, cafes, takeaway shops, pubs and bars were some of the earliest and hardest hit businesses, with many of these businesses now forced to close.  Other businesses in health and beauty have similarly been impacted. These premises are subject to health inspections on an annual basis, or twice annually for higher risk food premises.


Waiving fees would provide some immediate financial assistance to these businesses.


Financial implications


2019/2020 Financial year


Health inspection fees generate on average $55,000 per month in revenue. The financial impact of waiving fees is therefore $165,000 for the remaining three months of 2019/20.


2020/21 Financial year


A further $165,000 in revenue would be foregone in the first three months of 2020/21 financial year.


(Fees levied for 2019/20 inspections which have been charged but remain unpaid will still be collected.)


Actions to be implemented, including communications, risk mitigation


The initiative can be implemented immediately.


Any decision to waive health inspection fees would be communicated as a positive community message via Council’s website and local news media. 


Any relevant Federal or State Government actions/initiatives


The NSW Food Authority has not recommended that Council’s waive their fees.  It has provided guidelines on the need to continue carrying out inspections of food premises.




9. Initiative

Respond to recent announcements and direction from the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces by refocussing and realigning development assessment priorities.


To ensure Council is proactively responding and in consideration of the current economic environment, the Development Assessment team will focus on:


-     actively driving down the backlog of approximately 500 outstanding development applications and modification applications;

-     fast tracking determination of existing and new applications, prioritised by certain categories of development including:

single dwellings including alterations and additions;

secondary dwellings;

dual occupancies;

affordable housing

manufacturing, warehousing, freight and logistics;

commercial change of use;

health related premises including aged care; and

all minor modification applications

-     increasing communication with all applicants, in recognition of the difficult economic conditions, to achieve acceptable outcomes and work to find acceptable solutions, within the requirements of council’s planning policies and assessment procedures.

-     ensuring that the focus on the above areas is not at the expense of continued output across all other categories of development, including subdivision applications.

Rationale for Action


The NSW Minister for Planning and Public Spaces announced on 3 April a commitment to cut red tape and fast-track planning processes to keep people in jobs and the construction industry moving. There is a commitment to fast-track State Significant development applications and support councils to fast-track local and regionally significant development.


The economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic is critically linked to ensuring that development consents are in place to support ongoing activity in the construction and development industry and job opportunities across all sectors of the economy.  


It is also acknowledged that, in these circumstances particularly, timely determinations can make the difference between construction projects proceeding or not.  This is the case for developments of all size and scale, particularly at a time when the construction industry is starting to see an increase in the cost of building materials.


In response to the current economic conditions, the number of DAs being lodged has, for the past two weeks reduced from the typical 25 to 35 DAs per week, to 13 DAs per week. 


This slowdown of lodgements provides for the opportunity to refocus resources to fast-tracking determinations and resolving the factors that contribute to delays with applications such as impasses with additional information, design changes and other specialist technical inputs. 


Financial Implications


The anticipated reduction in DA lodgements will have an impact on revenue for the remainder of the 19/20 financial year, estimated at $2.5m. For the first quarter of 20/21 this budget impact will be an additional $2.5m


The realignment of development assessment priorities will be implemented with existing staff resources, resulting in no financial implications, beyond the impact of this reduced revenue on Council’s budget position.


Actions to implement, including communications, risk mitigation


This initiative can be implemented immediately by realigning some staff within the DA team to focus on the following.

-     Maintaining daily targeted monitoring of the backlog of applications and each planner’s case load by Team Leaders,


-     Triaging applications and taking necessary actions to resolve any delays through:

clear communication directly to applicants of outstanding information or necessary amendments to resolve issues as early as practicable in the assessment process;

more thorough issue identification at clearing house meetings (a multi-disciplinary preliminary review meeting) to avoid later referrals for technical input.

analysis of blockage points with referrals to other staff within council for expert technical advice and a strict adherence to a 10 business day turn-around with referrals; and

direct contact with State agencies for outstanding referrals and concurrence with a daily follow-up on any overdue referrals;

-     Increased phone contact with applicants on a weekly basis and in advance of any written communication with the aim of working together to find solutions to issues identified.

Any relevant Federal or State Government actions/initiatives


The specifics of the State Government’s support to Councils will be released in the coming weeks and Council will continue to engage with DPIE in respect of this.






10.   Initiative:

·    Amend Rating Revenue policy to extend hardship provisions to all rating categories as defined under section 514 of the Local Government Act. Current policy allows only for properties categorised as Residential. Amendment will extend the hardship provisions to properties categorised as Business and Farmland;

·    Allow applications for hardship to be made online to simplify process and remove requirements to provide detailed and complex information;

·    The initial assessment of hardship applications be assigned to the Rates Department with the Hardship Committee being referred all applications rejected for final determination;

·    To include an elected officer as part of the Hardship Committee membership; and

·    Suspend debt recovery actions until further notice.

Rationale for Action


Due to COVID-19 emergency, it is not only residential ratepayers that will experience financial hardship, but also properties that are categorised as Business and Farmland. Loss or downturn of trade, business closures, loss of rent and cashflow issues will impact Business and Farmland landowners significantly. Extending the hardship provisions to Business and Farmland properties will assist these ratepayers in managing cashflows and ease pressure of having to pay Council rates by certain dates without penalty. Amending the policy will allow Council to assist these business landowners within the confines of the Act.


The current application form and process is not practical for the potential increase in the volume expected. An online application will streamline the process, be user-friendly, provide a receipt record to the ratepayer and require that the ratepayer only provide information that is considered essential, i.e. reason for application, loss of employment, illness etc. The application can then be assessed, approved and response provided within 24-48 hours. The online application has essentially been completed and can be “turned on” almost immediately.


Council expects almost all applications under the hardship provisions to be approved. It would be difficult in the current environment to decline applications. It is therefore suggested that the delegation for the approval for hardship be provided to the Rates Team. This will enable the Rates team to process and if appropriate make an arrangement for the payment of the debt at intervals or at a later date. Again, this will streamline the application provide the ratepayer with certainty moving forward. The Hardship Committee would then only need to consider rare occurrences when the merit of an application is not supported. The Hardship Committee would be comprised of the Rates Coordinator, Chief Financial Officer and one Councillor (as determined by Council).


Financial Implications


There would be two financial implications for Council in relation to rates due to the impact of COVID-19 and subsequent changes to Council’s policies and procedures.


Increased applications and subsequent approval for hardship would result in a loss of interest income on overdue rates.


If Council were to receive 1000 applications, the potential cost to Council would be approximately $7200 if granting 90 days interest free.


Council should also allow a loss of interest income related to Business properties. This however this would be much more difficult to quantify as the instalment amounts for business properties vary significantly. Estimated cost of loss of interest charges for business properties = $1500 per 90 days of interest free period.


It is recommended that new Hardship provisions only apply for rates that fall due from May 2020 onwards. Arrears that relate to prior periods (pre COVID-19) would continue to attract interest.


19/20 financial year


Council currently receives approximately $420,000 per annum income in interest on overdue rates of which the majority has already been received. The impact for this financial year will be minimal as the next instalment is due 31 May 2020.


20/21 financial year (first three months)


Assuming an additional 1000 applications, the interest forgone would be approximately $10,000 in total for both residential and business ratepayers. Note we expect hardship claims would lessen over the last three month period as claims are likely to be lodged early.




11.   Initiative:

Approve for a rent abatement providing free rent from 1 April 2020 to 1 October 2020 (period of six months) for existing retail and small tenants (excluding telecommunications leases) managed by Council’s Property Section that are up to date with their rental payments.


Rationale for Action


Rent abatement (write-off of all rental income) from 1 April 2020 for retail and small tenants managed by the Property section for a period of six months is recommended, particularly as a number of these tenants have already closed.


Council’s tenants are starting to ask for rent abatements. Note that a number of Councils have already taken different approaches, ie:

·    Full 100% rent abatement

·    50% rent abatement

·    No rent abatement (subject to determining if Commonwealth financial assistance will be provided to offset rents).

Tenants may also have provisions under leases where there is a “force majeure” clause to seek rental abatement, which may have impact on Council’s financial position and forward budgets.


Financial Implications


19/20 financial year


Based on current lease arrangements (retail leases and small tenant leases) Council receives $102,000 rental income over a three month period.


20/21 financial year (first three months)


As above.


Any relevant Federal or State Government actions/initiatives


The NSW Government economic stimulus package identified a deferral of rents for six months for commercial tenants with less than 20 employees in all Government-owned properties. It is unclear if this applies to Local Government however a deferral would likely mean that the rent would still be payable in the future (potentially through a payment plan)


The Prime Minister has asked both commercial and residential landlords and tenants to work together to try to come to an arrangement to get them through for the next six months.



12.   Initiative

That a report be submitted to Council in May 2020 to consider a deferral of rent or rent abatement for Commercial Leases (excluding telecommunications leases) subject to the Commonwealth government implementing its foreshadowed Code for Commercial Leases.


Rationale for Action


Deferring current lease arrangement for six months is an option for commercial office leasing (such as Council’s Moore Street tenants). Those costs can be smoothed out for the rest of the lease period. For Commercial office leasing, our recommendation is we take no action until the Federal Government releases its foreshadowed Code for Commercial Leases.


Council will continue to have operational costs and outgoings for managing 33 Moore St (ie: cleaning, security, statutory inspections). On this basis it is recommended that Council await the release of the Commonwealth Code to determine its obligations or whether it will follow the NSW Government model of providing a deferment of rent.


As we have been approached by both our Commercial tenants to seek rent abatement it is considered given the potential amounts involved and ongoing operation costs to Council that we await the release of the Commonwealth’s position to determine if financial assistance will be made available to tenants to offset rentals, which will then inform Council’s position.


Rents would continue to be charged in the interim, however, no action would be taken to recover the rental’s until Council determines its position upon the release of the Commonwealth Code.


It is recommended that Council’s Telecommunications Leases be excluded from any rent abatement or deferment consideration, as the telecommunications carriers continue to operate.


Financial Implications


Not applicable


Any relevant Federal or State Government actions/initiatives


As outlined.



13.   Initiative

Direct Council to provide refunds to hirers of Community facilities:


Casual hirers will receive a full refund of their damage deposit bond, hiring fees and any other associated Council costs; and


Permanent hirers will receive a credit note against their bookings.


Rationale for Action


In March 2020 the growing concern in the media regarding Covid-19 led to a wave of booking cancellations from both casual and permanent hirers.


Council’s response through the CEO was that for a period to the 30 April 2020, for casual and permanent hirers, any cancellations, whether by choice of the hirer, will not attract a cancellation charge.


Financial Implications


The financial implications of this initiative is a close to 100 per cent loss of casual and permanent user revenue for Community Facilities Management.


19/20 financial year


The estimated loss of income in relation to the community venues and buses for the period 1 March to 30 June is $289,363.


20/21 financial year


It is estimated that community facilities monthly income would be reduced by $72,339 which equates to $217,000 for first three months to 30 September 2020


Actions to implement, including communications, risk mitigation


All actions and communications regarding this matter have been undertaken in consultation with relevant Council directorates.


Approved communication materials have been sent to all users to communicate Council’s position till April 30 and the review of the period this decision applies to in mid-April.


Any relevant Federal or State Government actions/initiatives


Council is not aware of any proposed programs emanating from Federal or State Governments that might reduce the operational loss of revenue by Councils in regard to community halls or buses.



14.   Initiative:

Offer Licensed Tenants of Council’s community facilities the waiving of licence fees where no tenant activity was continuing at the facility.


Rationale for Action


The Federal and State government’s rolling announcements of restrictions on the use of meeting spaces led to it being unviable for groups to continue use community facilities for the purpose they were booked.  Council was faced with the question of whether it would continue to charge community organisations for venues they could no longer use.


Council’s response through the CEO was that for a period to the 30 April 2020, for licenced tenants at Council’s community facilities that:


Where all activity, including office space use, was ceased at a venue, for the period 18 March to 30 April Council would waive licence fees to alleviate the financial burden on community organisations.


Financial Implications


19/20 financial year


The estimated loss of income in relation to the community venues and buses from 1 March to 30 June is $78,838.


20/21 financial year


It is estimated that the community facilities income would be reduced by $19,709 for every month of the 2020/2021 financial year affected.


Actions to implement, including communications, risk mitigation


All actions and communications regarding this matter have been undertaken in consultation with relevant Council directorates.


Approved communication materials have been sent to all users to communicate Council’s position till April 30 and the review of the period this decision applies to in mid-April.


Any relevant Federal or State Government actions/initiatives


Council is not aware of any proposed programs emanating from Federal or State Governments that might reduce the operational loss of revenue by Councils in regard to community halls or buses.



15.   Initiative:

Council resolves not to apply a general CPI increase to its 2020/21 non-statutory user fees and charges, with the following exceptions:


A)  Domestic Waste Management – a 2.5 per cent increase;

B)  Children’s Services – continue with the proposed increase of $4 per child per day ($2 per day for Casula); and

C)  Fees applicable at Whitlam, Wenden & Michael Clarke Leisure Centres


A)  Waste

Rationale for Action


Each year in setting its Fees and Charges Council applies a general CPI increase. This excludes statutory fees which is subject to determination by the State Government.

The impact of Covid19 to our residents is significant and as a matter of principle not prudent for Council to increase its fees & charges. Many Councils are taking a similar approach.


Domestic Waste Management Fees is excluded. The cost of waste collection and processing recycling material is expected to increase in 2020/21 and Council will not be able to absorb it under current economic conditions. The 2.5% increase per household equates to about $7 which is considered not significant.


Financial Implications


19/20 financial year


Not applicable


20/21 financial year


Council will lose approx. $245,000 in additional income by not increasing its non-statutory fees and charges. The estimate loss takes into account the economic slowdown anticipated in first three months into 2020/21.


Actions to implement, including communications, risk mitigation


The current rates for fees and charges will be rolled over and appropriate adjustments will be made to 2020/21 budget.


The increased fees, together with a few new charges will be included in Council business paper for endorsement. These will be placed on public exhibition and brought back to Council for adoption on or before 30 June 2020.


Any relevant Federal or State Government actions/initiatives


Not applicable.


B)  Children’s Services

Rationale for Action


In December 2019, the NSW Department of Education announced that legacy funding for Early Childhood services would end from June 30 2020 and that services would move to a contemporary funding model.  The newly developed Start Strong for Long Day Care funding model is in place to help increase access to early childhood education in the year before entering school.


Children’s Services have increased fees on exhibition for the 20/21 financial year of $4 for all Early Education and Care Centres and $2 for Casula Preschool. This figure is a modest increase, inclusive of CPI, and seeks to offset the reduction of funding otherwise received from the Department of Education to the total of $192,725.  If adopted, the proposed fee structure would increase revenue by an additional $153,300, over and above the projected CPI amount of $142,500.


Should Council decide to not increase fees for the 20/21 financial year, Children’s Services total annual revenue will be reduced by $295,800.


Financial Implications


19/20 financial year


Not applicable.


20/21 financial year


The forecast deficit for Council’s Early Childhood Services for the first quarter of 2020/21 is $73,950 if no increase in fees is applied.


Actions to implement, including communications, risk mitigation


Liverpool City Council’s Children’s Services currently adopts the following fee structure:

Education and Care Centres                              Casula Preschool

3-5 Year olds - $89                                                      Standard fee -$50

2-3 Year olds - $93                                                      4-5 year old fee $35

0-2 year olds - $95                                                       Equity fee - $17


The fee increase has been reviewed for its competiveness compared with private operators within the Local Government Area (LGA) to ensure affordability. The increased fee remains mid-range to other operators. Also, because of Child Care Subsidy payments, the increase for many of our parents would be limited to $2 (or less) per day.


Council believes parents utilising our Early Childhood Services will accept this increase as:


·    Council is a high quality provider of education and care in the LGA with all seven services rated at Exceeding National Quality Standards;

·    Our services have an extensive waitlist, proving to be sought after providers of innovative educational curriculums; and 

·    The proposed fee increase is competitive with other providers in the LGA and remains mid-range to other providers.

Any relevant Federal or State Government actions/initiatives


Child Care COVID -19 Relief Package

On 2 April the Federal Government announced a relief funding package to ensure that childcare providers were able to remain operational and utilisation could be maintained during the COVID -19 pandemic and that providers were in a good financial position when things returned to normal. A key component of this package heavily relieved on services accessing the job keeper payment to make up for the reduction of revenue. While this ensured the private sector were able to remain financially viable during this time, Local Government was not eligible to participate in the job keeper program which affected the financially viability of Local Councils.


As a result of strong lobbying of the State Government by the United Services Union, other industry unions including LGNSW, on 9 April the NSW State Premier announced a $133 million package for childcare service providers across New South Wales which includes Local Councils.


$82 million will be provided to Local Councils to ensure council-run facilities receive the same level of support as private providers. An additional $51 million will be provided to preschools.


This decision has enabled services to continue operating with full cost recovery.


            C)   Fees applicable at Whitlam, Wenden & Michael Clarke Leisure Centres


Rationale for Action


Council has a contractual arrangement with Belgravia to manage three of its leisure centres. Under the financial arrangements, Belgravia has the right to increase fees each year by CPI or 2.5% whichever is greater. Any increases under current circumstances will have to be negotiated. A Council resolution to the contrary has potential to expose Council to a loss of revenue claim.


Financial Implications


19/20 financial year


Not applicable


20/21 financial year


Yet to be determined


Actions to implement, including communications, risk mitigation


Not applicable


Any relevant Federal or State Government actions/initiatives


Not applicable






16.   Initiative:

Direct Council to seek funding from the NSW Government for an accelerated package of capital works projects (attached) that can be delivered in the Liverpool LGA within a short timeframe.


Rationale for Action


Expenditure on capital works projects would provide an early and effective way of stimulating Liverpool’s local economy. Not only do capital works projects provide direct employment opportunities, but they also support existing suppliers and supply chains in the region during exceptionally challenging trading conditions. Immediate investment in capital works is a proven economic recovery strategy that will help with local employment and economic recovery.


Capital works investment also provides an opportunity for Council and Government to invest in projects that will have ongoing benefits during the recovery phase, particularly for those industries and community sectors most affected by the current crisis conditions. This includes particularly:

1.   Projects that reactivate the CBD and the retail/hospitality sectors;

2.   Projects that support the arts and cultural sector;

3.   Projects that stimulate renewed residential and commercial property development;

4.   Projects that improve community services and amenity; and

5.   Projects that represent a recovering and growing Liverpool.

Based on informal officer-level advice to date, it is expected that the NSW Government will have a particular interest in projects that support the above-listed sectors. It is also expected that the government will prioritise projects that maximise short-term direct employment and projects that are ‘shovel ready’ (ie. can commence in the next 3 – 6 months).


Initial investigations have identified 22 candidate capital works projects that construction could start on within this calendar year. The combined value of the projects identified is almost $130m and would support over 400 direct jobs. Where projects were already ear-marked for Council expenditure, these funds could be redirected to other Council requirements. 


As noted above, Council will also separately advocate for a suite of larger ‘long-term’ infrastructure and capital works projects (eg. Fifteenth Avenue Smart Transit Corridor, Carnes Hill Stage Two and the South-west Metro extension) as outlined in the ‘This Is Liverpool’ advocacy document.


Financial Implications


19/20 Financial Year


Not applicable. Development of advocacy materials to be funded through existing resources within Council. It is not currently proposed that a co-funding model be proposed to NSW Government for these projects. In the event that co-funding (eg. ‘matching funding’) is sought, further guidance from Council will be sought.


20/21 Financial Year


Not applicable, noting comment above regarding co-funding.


Actions to implement, including communications, risk mitigation


If approved by Council, summary material on the attached list of projects would be finalised and formally provided to the NSW Government. The material would be provided primarily to NSW Treasury (as the NSW Government lead on the Covid-19 fiscal response), but would also be copied in to relevant Ministers too (eg. Minister for Transport) in the event that other funding opportunities also arise. As noted, the summary material on ‘shovel ready’ project would be accompanied with information on longer-term infrastructure investment options that also exist in the Liverpool LGA.


Any relevant Federal or State Government actions/initiatives


The Federal Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications recently issued a request for councils across Australia to provide a preliminary indication of land transport projects available for funding. This funding would occur under the existing Infrastructure Investment Program guidelines. The NSW Government has not yet issued a formal request for projects, however it is understood that NSW Treasury is currently designing a fiscal stimulus package incorporating a range of capital works projects.


17.   Initiative

Direct Council to support the actions endorsed in previous resolutions through Ministerial letters and targeted communications campaigns; and




Write to Federal and NSW Treasurers outlining collapse in revenues and seeking a rates guarantee to ensure financial liquidity, financial assistance to maintain existing employment levels and explicit inclusion of local government in any future stimulus packages;


Support LGNSW’s campaign to suspend Fit for the Future guidelines given current circumstances, including writing to Minister for Local Government as appropriate;

Council believes FFF targets and benchmarks are now outdated and should be abandoned as councils will be increasingly unable to meet targets and benchmarks during the pandemic.  Further information on the LGNSW campaign will be sought. 


Write to Minister for Local Government seeking regulations requiring notices to be placed in newspapers be waived for six months in light of local papers suspending printing and for Council be allowed to advise residents through websites and social media;

With local newspapers suspending printed publication Council faces a potentially expensive increase in advertising costs if it is forced to publish notices in metropolitan newspapers. Accordingly, a suspension or abolition of current arrangements is sought.


Write to the Federal and NSW Governments to highlight the financial impact on Council of new childcare arrangements announced last week;


Write to local MPs with a summary of relevant resolutions; and


Implement an ongoing communications campaign to ensure residents and businesses have all available information about COVID-19 and Council’s responses to support the community.





The financial implications are outlined in the body of the report.


Minimise household and commercial waste.

Manage the environmental health of waterways.

Manage air, water, noise and chemical pollution.

Raise community awareness and support action in relation to environmental issues.


Raise awareness in the community about the available services and facilities.

Support policies and plans that prevent crime.

Preserve and maintain heritage, both landscape and cultural as urban development takes place.

Support community organisations, groups and volunteers to deliver coordinated services to the community.

Promote community harmony and address discrimination.

Support access and services for people with a disability.

Deliver high quality services for children and their families.

Civic Leadership

Act as an environmental leader in the community.

Undertake communication practices with the community and stakeholders across a range of media.

Provide information about Council’s services, roles and decision making processes.

Deliver services that are customer focused.

Operate a well developed governance system that demonstrates accountability, transparency and ethical conduct.

Actively advocate for federal and state government support, funding and services.


There are no legislative considerations relating to this report.




1.         Accelerated Capital Works Project List


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COVID-19 - Liverpool City Council Response

Attachment 1

Accelerated Capital Works Project List


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