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Treasurer leaves council staff high and dry

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The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) says the Victorian Government’s announcement today that council workers will be ineligible for State funding assistance for public sector workers is disappointing and frustrating.

Comments made by the Victorian Treasurer were unhelpful and ignore much of the good work being done by Victoria’s 79 councils to support their communities and local businesses through the coronavirus pandemic.

Dedicated council employees are working as hard as ever to deliver critical community services that are essential for Victorian’s health, safety and wellbeing, including community care, childcare, childhood immunisations, and waste and recycling services.

MAV President Cr Coral Ross said the targeted exclusion of local government from both Federal and Victorian Government support programs was a slap in the face to tax paying Victorians employed by councils.

“First we had the Federal Government dismiss local government as “creatures of state governments” and now we have the Victorian government essentially saying to council workers “you’re on your own”. These two tiers of government raise more than 96 per cent of the tax collected in Australia. Dedicated council staff in need of support have been left high and dry.

“It isn’t unreasonable that a council employee who can no longer work due to mandated facility closures might expect some degree of understanding and support from Federal and State Governments when they really need it.

“It makes no sense that frontline workers employed by a private, not-for-profit or Victorian Government organisation can access tax-payer-funded support payments whereas those performing identical roles for councils are ineligible,” said Cr Coral Ross.

“The National Cabinet shows us the Australian community is best served when governments work together. We will continue to constructively engage with the State and Federal Governments to ensure that we get the best outcomes for councils and for our communities.”

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For further information, contact MAV President Cr Coral Ross on 0438 005 225 or the MAV Communications Unit on (03) 9667 5590.