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19 Aug 2021

Financial support announced for NSW council employees

Training & Development
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The New South government has announced financial support of $1500 per fortnight for local government employee employees impacted by COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. In a statement issued Friday 13th August, Minister Shelley Hancock announced the cash support for local council employees will be made available under a job retention allowance similar to that established in 2020. Minister Shelly advised the job retention allowance provides $1500 per fortnight for any eligible employee for up to three months, in order to help councils retain staff whose employment has been impacted by the current COVID-19 outbreak. This is a great opportunity for local councils to retrain and redeploy affected staff two other areas within the LGA. It is hoped by the minister that local councils will adopt this initiative during the current lock down restrictions.

Up until now, Commonwealth Government assistance has not been available to local councils which had a huge impact on the Aquatic and Recreation Workforce during the 2020 lockdowns with many of the workforce stood down and ultimately lost from our Industry.

Last week saw the release of the PWC report commissioned by Royal Life Saving Australia on The Social, Health and Economic Value of the Australian National Aquatic Industry The report identified that in NSW, 67% of the 658 Aquatic Facilities are staffed and managed by local government employees; in the ACT, the breakdown is 47% of the 23 facilities and in Tasmania the proportion is the highest with 84% of the 50 facilities being operated by local governments. It is estimated that in 2020, 67,000 frontline workers throughout Australia in the Aquatic and Recreation Industry were stood down.

Royal Life Saving CEO, Michael Illinsky, highlighted the importance of this report and how crucial it is to support our Industry’s workforce during these extended lockdowns. “We have identified 63% of the Aquatic industry workforce are either casual or part-time, primarily filling the roles of Lifeguards and teachers of swimming and water safety. To have financial support for our workforce in these uncertain times is imperative to ensure our venues can retain staff and be ready to reopen when restrictions ease.”

To be eligible under the current scheme, councils must be able to demonstrate an actual or potential loss of at least 30% in revenue for the current or previous quarter in that business unit or entity. Eligible councils will also need to be part of the Splinter Award or equivalent agreement, have continued to pay eligible employees four weeks paid COVID-19 special leave, and entered into a funding agreement with the office for local government. More information on the Splinter Award and Councils that are currently covered by this Award can be found here.

Councils can now lodge their submissions for claims for the New South Wales Job Retention allowance through the New South Wales State Government.

Useful links:

COVID-19 Local Government Resources

Press Release – Office of Local Government: NSW Government to Provide Council Financial Support to Save Jobs

Press Release – NSW Government economic stimulus package relief

Report - Health, Social and Economic Value of the Australian National Aquatic Industry

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