LGAQ calls for border help
The Local Government Association or Queensland (LGAQ) wants councils to be reimbursed for the cost of managing border closures.
Queensland has imposed a hard border closure with NSW to protect the state from escalating COVID-19 outbreaks.
LGAQ CEO Greg Hallam says local governments recognise the need to implement border closures to mitigate the health risks during the pandemic.
“The border councils involved have stepped up without question to help the State maintain those strong border controls,” he said.
“However, the ongoing costs of implementing these arrangements are becoming a real financial burden on some of our rural and remote councils.”
Councils most impacted included Paroo, Balonne, Southern Downs and Bulloo shire councils as well as Goondiwindi Regional Council.
Costs incurred by councils because of the border closure include providing support to the Queensland Police Service through the supply of generators, accommodation and other critical supplies.
Mr Hallam said costs already borne by some of these councils from previous border closures represented about 15 per cent of their annual general rates income.
“Asking border councils to simply accept 15 per cent of their rates revenue being redirected to border closure costs ultimately means their communities miss out on core council services being delivered for their communities,” he said.
Mr Hallam said the State Government needed to acknowledge the financial strain on councils of repeated border closures and provide support funding for the affected councils.
“We need the Government to help our councils with the retrospective reimbursement of their border closure costs, as well as a promise of financial support for any future closures,” he said.