Following the announcement from the Federal Government of the ‘JobKeeper’ wage subsidy program USU General Secretary Graeme Kelly wrote to the President of Local Government NSW, Cr Linda Scott urging Local Government NSW and all NSW Councils to ensure that they are in a position to benefit from this program should it become available.
The USU will continue to fight to ensure members’ jobs and wages are protected throughout this crisis.
A copy of the letter dated 31 March 2020 can be downloaded here and is outlined below:
Dear Ms Scott,
Federal Government Wage Subsidy
Following the announcement from the Federal Government of the ‘JobKeeper’ wage subsidy program we urge Local Government NSW and all NSW Councils to ensure that they are in a position to benefit from this program should it become available.
This may include registration with the Australian Taxation Officer to ensure ongoing payments are made to staff where necessary.
Moreover, we urge your organisation to join with the Industry Unions in formalising an arrangement to ensure the maintenance of pay for all staff in local government. During this unprecedented crisis it is essential that all levels of government continue to provide stable, well-paying jobs that ensure essential services and economic benefits continue to be delivered to communities.
I also commit that should your organisation need any assistance in seeking political change or support to ensure the ongoing financial viability of local government, that the USU will do anything within its power to assist you in those efforts.
Graeme Kelly OAM
Ms Scott’s response dated 1 April 2020 can be downloaded here and is outlined below:
Dear Mr Kelly
Federal Government Wage Subsidy
Thank you for your letter dated 31 March 2020 on seeking the inclusion of Local Government in the Federal Government’s Wage Keeper Program. I am writing to confirm that LGNSW has today, written to the Prime Minister, the Honourable Scott Morrison MP urging that he support our call to do so.
Further, given the Program’s current eligibility criteria, we are advocating through ALGA that councils be given earlier access to the wage subsidies.
LGNSW sees it as critical that the local government sector receives adequate funding and resources to coordinate and deliver the goods and services needed as we navigate through, and recover from, natural disasters and the new challenges presented by COVID-19 and its massive impacts on our communities, customers, staff and our local economies. We will explore what arrangements are necessary to support extension of this Program’s benefits to councils and how we can ensure the ongoing financial viability of local government more broadly.
In the interim, we are preparing Mayoral minutes and other campaign materials to advocate for state and federal local government stimulus packages as well as arranging a series of meetings with General Managers to discuss COVID related issues, practical and emerging initiatives and to ensure they understand what their legal obligations.
I would be pleased to discuss what we can do, in a coordinated manner, to ensure local government continues to provide essential services and stable and secure employment and thank you for your offer to do so.
Cr Linda Scott