NT councils to get rates respite in $13m stimulus package

Top End councils will be able to access funding of $13.1 million to counteract Covid-19 impacts in what the Northern Territory Government says is the first stimulus package for local government.

The package, to be split into two funding pools, comprises $6 million to allow councils to apply for funding to help defer rates and ensure operations aren’t affected through offering relief passed on to ratepayers.

A one-off Special Community Assistance and Local Employment grant pool of $7.1 million is being provided to assist councils to create more local jobs in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Local Government Association of the Northern Territory (LGANT) president Damien Ryan said the timing of the funding would also benefit councils in planning how they could spend their money.

“That $7.1 million now is a huge help to all local governments who are … working on their budgets (for next year) as well,” he said.

Councils have also been allowed to redistribute unspent funds from previous government grants into coronavirus responses to ensure business continuity.