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COVID-19 Support for Local Government Sector

Office of the Chief Minister

Funding to support job creation in communities; waivers and deferrals of rates for businesses in hardship; and repurposing unspent grants are amongst a suite of measures to support the Territory’s Local Government sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Territory Labor Government has announced the initiatives to protect and create jobs and assist businesses and Territorians impacted by restrictions introduced to control the spread of coronavirus.

The initiatives were developed by the Department of Local Government, Housing and Community Development in collaboration with the Local Government Association of the NT.

The Northern Territory is the only jurisdiction to have announced COVID-19 support measures for the local government sector, targeted at helping councils in their efforts to create and strengthen locally-based responses to, and recovery from, the impacts of COVID-19 in their local communities and businesses.

Measures include:

  • Establishment of a one-off $7.1 million Special Community Assistance and Local Employment (SCALE) program in 2019-20 to: provide immediate funding to assist with council employment and operating costs; support jobs creation and maintenance opportunities in communities; provide targeted rates relief; and assist with COVID-19-related compliance and management costs.
  • Establishment of a $6 million Council Support Package in 2020-2021 to support councils in offering rates waivers and deferrals for commercial ratepayers facing hardship.
  • Inviting councils to repurpose approved, unspent grants under the Special Purpose Grants and Strategic Local Government Infrastructure Fund programs for initiatives related to business continuity or COVID-19-related costs.

Ministerial exemptions will allow councils to extend already-tendered contracts with Territory enterprises as well as supplies related to waste management or public health, to 30 June 2021.

Additionally, the commencement of the Local Government Act 2019 has been deferred for 12 months to allow councils, and others affected by the new legislation, time to concentrate on responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Quotes attributable to Minister for Local Government, Housing and Community Development, Gerry McCarthy:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges and the Territory Labor Government is doing everything possible to help Territorians to get through these difficult times.

“We are supporting the Local Government sector to continue to deliver essential services, create and support jobs and keep communities throughout the Territory sustainable and operational.

“Working in collaboration with the Local Government Association of the NT (LGANT), our initiatives will also help councils to improve sanitation in council areas and engage local communities in activities, messages and signage that will help to keep Territorians safe as we work through this pandemic together.”


Media contact: Jasmin Afianos – 0419 361 127


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