Sunshine Coast Council Mayor and Local Disaster Management Group Chair Mark Jamieson has today (March 30) reiterated council's clear commitment to supporting our community through the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Mayor Jamieson said that as the impacts of the national public health measures continued to flow throughout the community, he wanted to provide some reassurance that council would continue to look at every avenue available to support those experiencing financial difficulty.
"Council is continuing to assess all available options to support our community and businesses through the economic impacts being caused by COVID-19," Mayor Jamieson said.
"We understand that this pandemic is having far-reaching impacts on the employment conditions for so many of our residents, and that the last thing they want to be worried about is how they are going to manage to pay any outstanding rates.
"Over the next few days, council will be communicating with everyone who has outstanding rates that, if they are experiencing financial difficulty, council will work with them to make a suitable arrangement that takes into account their circumstances.
"Council will also not be charging interest on outstanding rate payments and will not be pursuing outstanding rates at this time."
To support some of our most vulnerable community members and those experiencing homelessness, council is working with the State Government and local community groups, including accommodation providers, to help provide support.
Mayor Jamieson said council was closely monitoring incidents of homelessness and the locations where people were rough sleeping across the Sunshine Coast.
"Council recognises that people experiencing homelessness are often amongst the most vulnerable members of the community and our officers approach every incidence of homelessness with sensitivity and compassion," Mayor Jamieson said.
"Council is continuing to work with community support services, homelessness services and members of the Mayor's Homelessness Round Table to ensure ongoing support is provided to people experiencing homelessness and to our vulnerable community members.
"Council is also meeting weekly with the Department of Housing and Public Works to ensure that anyone who identifies as being homeless is assisted to connect with shelter and accommodation options and is referred to local community services to access emergency relief and support.
"The Australian Government announced yesterday (March 29) an additional $200 million would be provided for emergency relief as demand surges as a result of coronavirus.
"This funding is being provided to support charities and other community organisations which provide emergency and food relief.
"Following this announcement, council is working with the State Government on how this funding will be allocated on the Sunshine Coast to ensure our vulnerable community members are best supported.
"I will also look to convene a special online meeting of the Homelessness Round Table this week to discuss our continued work in this area and whether there are any issues that need to be addressed locally."
Anyone needing to contact council should ideally call 5475 7272 or consider using one of the many convenient online options including MyCouncil, Web Chat, the Call Back service, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Council's service counters at Maroochydore, Caloundra and Nambour remain open from 8.30am to 4.30pm, however to ensure the safety of residents and staff, please ensure that if you are visiting one of these counters you follow the social distancing requirements.
In line with Australian Government restrictions, many council facilities are closed until further notice. This includes playgrounds, skate parks, public barbecue facilities and exercise equipment.
For information about other council facilities and services during this time, visit council's website www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.auwhich will be updated if changes are made to council's service delivery as a result of COVID-19.
Residents are also encouraged to download the Australian Government's Coronavirus app for reliable up-to-date information including health advice, details about government support and the latest advice on social distancing. The app is available fromApple App StoreGoogle Play