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City’s COVID-19 response to boost local economy

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A record $116 million capital works program that will generate up to 700 local jobs and increase the local economy’s economic output by $275 million, is the centrepiece of City of Newcastle’s response to the devastating impact of COVID-19.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the 2020/21 budget was a significant budget for the City of Newcastle, with the national economy now in recession and more than 41,000 people either losing their job or withdrawing from the local labour force since February.

“When it comes to major economic downturns through incidents such as COVID-19, governments at all levels have a responsibility to accelerate investment to both keep people employed and uplift economic activity,” she said.

“The budget also includes a further $3.3 million Community and Economic Resilience Package providing significant targeted relief for businesses, residents and the most disadvantaged members of our community.

“The elected Council recognises the critical need for the City of Newcastle to lead from local government by helping to kick start our local economy back into gear.”

Over the next 12 months, the City will deliver a record local infrastructure works program, including; $22.9 million for upgrades to local roads and footpaths, $17 million for waste management, $14.2 million for suburban and city centre renewal, and more.

City of Newcastle Chief Executive Jeremy Bath said the record $116 million infrastructure program will be delivered despite a $12 million reduction in income caused by COVID-19.

“The prudent financial management of City of Newcastle means we have the capacity to fund this COVID-19 stimulus budget, without borrowing,” he said.

“Instead the $336 million budget will be funded from forecast income with a $23 million shortfall funded from existing reserves.”

The draft 20/21 Budget was placed on public exhibition from March to May and almost 70 per cent of the submissions were positive or constructive. The City’s support for the community and its future financial sustainability garnered the most responses from the community.

Cr Nelmes added that the brave decisions by most of the elected Council have protected and expanded its services, while the increased investment into capital works has significantly stimulated the local economy.

“Independent economic analysis shows that our investment in local infrastructure has sustained over 3,500 local jobs and increased economic output across Newcastle by more than $1.27 billion since 2015,” she said.

Go to the City of Newcastle website for more.

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