State governments step up Covid-19 stimulus responses

The Tasmanian state government has extended the Local Government Loan Scheme from $50 million to $150 million to o ensure a steady supply of “screw-driver and paint-brush ready projects” during the Covid-19 crisis.

The measure was one of several contained in a social and economic support package announced by Premier Peter Gutwein on 26 March. This is in addition to $50 million of maintenance in public buildings and assets, including public housing, being brought forward.

In measures aimed at supporting community organisations during the crisis, the government will provide $2.7 million in measures to address family violence, including rapid rehousing, improved and increased services, and one-off packages.

A further $2.5 million will be provided to enhance the child safety and well-being system, and $2 million will go to a grants program to support the ongoing viability and operation of sporting clubs and associations.

In South Australia, new infrastructure projects worth $120 million are to be fast-tracked to support jobs and businesses as part of a $1 billion economic stimulus package announced by the state government on 30 March.

The projects include:

  • $52 million for targeted regional road network repair and improvement, including on the Stuart Highway, Yorke Highway, Dukes Highway and Riddoch Highway;
  • $35 million to rehabilitate and resurface the South Eastern Freeway between the Tollgate and Crafers;
  • $15 million for Heysen Tunnel refit and safety upgrade;
  • $12 million for a higher capacity North-South Freight Route by-passing Adelaide; and
  • $6 million to seal Adventure Way and Innamincka Airport Road.

Contracts for $21.5 million worth of construction have been released to upgrade almost 200km of Cleve Road and Browns Well Highway in the Loxton Waikeri and Southern Mallee LGAs.

In a stimulus package announced last week the government announced it would establish two new funds to support community organisations as well as individual businesses and industry sectors.

The $250 million Community and Jobs Fund will support community organisations, sporting, arts and recreational bodies, non-profit organisations as well as some industry sectors whose operations have been impacted by the coronavirus.

In NSW, the state government has introduced a number of legislative changes to help communities weather the economic and health impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The amendments, which are the result of talks with councils, will allow certain developments to be carried out without normal planning approvals, as well as support retail trading, supermarket deliveries, and waste disposal from retail premises.

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On 17 March, the NSW state government accounted a $2.3 billion economic stimulus package responding to Covid-19, and on 27 March it announced further measures.

The centerpiece of Stage 2 of the Covid-19 package is a $1 billion “Working for NSW fund” to sustain business, create new jobs and retrain employees. Other measures include a $34 million boost in funding to prevent homelessness.

The state government is also fast-tracking the payment of suppliers and contractors to help businesses maintain cash flow.