21 Apr, 2020

Impact of COVID-19 to City of Adelaide Revenue and Services

The City of Adelaide is implementing a range of actions to safely and sustainably steer the city through the midst of the global COVID-19 crisis.

Lord Mayor Sandy Verschoor said Council will continue to show leadership as a Capital City Council and acted quickly with its $4 million city support package to support the community.

“The City of Adelaide quickly provided targeted three-month full rental relief for our commercial tenants, for traders at Adelaide Central Market and for community groups and organisations who lease premises on the Park Lands,” said the Lord Mayor.

“We’re pleased to be waiving the separate rate for the purpose of managing and marketing the Rundle Mall precinct (Rundle Mall Marketing Levy) for three months.

“We also recognise the pandemic’s impact on residential and commercial ratepayers and, through hardship provisions, we continue to work closely with those who are seeking deferral or payment plans.

“Our $8 all day, touch-free parking in Council’s nine UParks through UPark Plus has been incredibly well received by those who still need to come into the city.

“We’re also ensuring vulnerable members of our community are safe and supported through our partnership of the Adelaide Zero Project and we’re providing practical support to our elderly residents through our New Outreach Program.”

However, while acting quickly to support the community was a priority, the City of Adelaide is not immune to the impacts of COVID-19 on our operations.

The City of Adelaide is unique when compared to other South Australian councils, in that its diversified revenue streams are now under serious threat. Just 56 per cent of Council’s revenue comes from rates, with remaining revenue streams now seriously challenged.

The Lord Mayor said the pandemic’s impacts has seen city workers leave the city in significant numbers, small businesses close, hotels empty and major events in the city cancelled – all of which is having a significant impact on Council businesses and services.

“It’s clear that we must now all share the burden to successfully navigate the biggest social and economic challenge of our time,” said the Lord Mayor.

“Council is experiencing a reduction in income from our business operations which we have had to temporarily close, including the Aquatic Centre and Golf Links.

“There are no bookings for events in Town Hall and Park Lands, and income from UParks, street parking and expiations, as well as other fees and charges have been greatly reduced.

“Scenario modelling indicates a reduction in net income of up to $30 million* as a worst-case scenario for the April to June quarter this financial year.

“The pressure on our income and cash-flow is immediate and the effect is anticipated to be long-term.

“Clearly this is not a sustainable position for any organisation and is why we need to act quickly.”

To recover, the City of Adelaide will need to review its services, how the organisation is structured and how it best partners with others to deliver community outcomes.

The City of Adelaide’s response to these challenges has been driven through its dedicated business continuity plan that has ensured essential services continue to be provided.

The City of Adelaide can announce it has immediately reduced its own expenditure on projects and cut operational costs on consultancies, contractors, legal services and temporary labour.

A prudent approach has also been taken to Council’s major capital works program. A range of projects are now being re-timed and some re-prioritised for delivery later this year.

Chief Executive Officer Mark Goldstone said looking after Council’s workforce is also one of his highest priorities.

“Over the past four weeks, many of our people have been asked to be at home, using a combination of paid special leave and annual leave. We have used this time to focus on being able to have more people work safely in the office and to build the IT capability to allow more people to work meaningfully from home,” said Mr Goldstone.

“I am pleased to announce that, as of this Thursday, all indoor permanent staff will recommence work, and after the last shift on Friday, all Public Realm program permanent staff will also recommence work.”

The City of Adelaide will continue to keep the community informed about its response to the impact of COVID-19 in the weeks and months ahead.

“Regular, positive conversations are ongoing with State and Federal Government counterparts, business, peak bodies and community leaders to ensure we are collaborating and fully supporting each other,” said the Lord Mayor.

Visit Council's latest information on coronavirus (COVID-19) for the latest information on essential services, support for the community and support for business.

*Includes Council’s investment in the $4 million City Support package


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