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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 322 asked in the Legislative Council on 2 April 2020 by Hon Peter Collier

Minister responding: Hon D.A. Templeman
Parliament: 40 Session: 1

Answered on

CORONAVIRUS — GOVERNMENT RESPONSE — LOCAL GOVERNMENT

322. Hon PETER COLLIER to the Leader of the House representing the Minister for Local Government:

I ask this question on behalf of Hon Simon O'Brien, who is on urgent parliamentary business.

(1) Can the minister advise the house how the considerable resources of local government is being incorporated into the government's response to the COVID crisis?

(2) Who are the key state government personnel tasked with coordinating the state government's actions?

Hon SUE ELLERY replied:

I thank the honourable member for some notice of the question.

(1) The state government has asked local governments to get their business continuity plans in order and to implement a number of measures to support their communities in response to the spread of COVID-19. These include, but are not limited to, freezing their household rates, fees and charges in line with the state government's commitment to households and businesses; fast track project approvals to create new employment at a time of significant unemployment; use the local government workforce of 22 000 people to ensure measures are implemented immediately, including reaching out to local police and health authorities to offer workforce assistance; use their budgets and borrowing capacity to stimulate their economies and help create jobs through construction programs and road construction programs to keep local communities in the workforce; and do everything possible to work for their communities.

Local governments are developing responses that best suit the needs of their community. Also, the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries is supporting the Western Australian Local Government Association in its role of coordinator of local government action. A representative of WALGA is on the State Emergency Management Committee.

(2) I am engaging with local government on a weekly basis through a webinar arranged by WALGA. State government personnel at all levels are working to support local governments and their communities in this time of crisis in our state, with responses being coordinated at senior levels. Our State Emergency Coordinator and pandemic policy unit in the Department of the Premier and Cabinet are leading the whole-of-government response.