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Your views: on council rates and cuts, and lockdowns

Reader contributions

Today, readers comment on Labor’s call for councils to waive rates for pandemic-hit businesses, city projects put on ice, and virus restrictions.

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Commenting on the story: “Populist policy on the run”: Unions slam SA Labor’s coronavirus response

A waiver of council rates for those businesses that have been forced to close is exactly what is needed.

Currently businesses are able to claim for 50% of their rent but are still required to pay 100% of their outgoings, a large portion of which is Council rates which are forwarded on by landlords to the tenants, who in many cases no longer have any income.

This would not need to be a broad scale offering, but one that could easily be directed to those businesses that are part of the federal government’s forced closure, or perhaps those involved in the JobKeeper program. – Mick Krieg

I am unconvinced that it is the right thing for State Parliament to force local government to implement ‘rates holidays’ where businesses are impacted by the COVID-19 response.

I get that the COVID-19 response is crippling many businesses. Ethically, there is a very powerful argument for the levels of governments which introduced necessary health emergency measures which are having devastating impacts on businesses to be footing the bill for remedies.

Local government didn’t introduce those measures – and is adversely affected by them too. If businesses are going to the wall, perhaps more money needs to flow from State and Federal coffers.

This is not to suggest local governments should sit idle. But if you prescribe a revenue loss, you need to understand what the impact including opportunity cost is – and if you don’t consult properly, you will probably be clueless about that.

No doubt, the opportunity cost would include local government’s role in supporting economic recovery. Granted some Councils may be much better at that than others (given financial capacity).

Perhaps a better approach would be to give the Local Government Financing Authority (LGFA) top up funding and give it broader scope to fund recovery projects.

With Councils forced into ‘austerity mode’, the LGFA may find both funds (normally loans from Councils with surpluses) and projects to back with loans are scarcer. And the likely flow on effect will be that jobs are scarcer.

Finally, what’s wrong with the different levels of government taking sensibly to each other and working together to come up with better solutions in this crisis? – Jim Allen

Commenting on the story: Cash-strapped council puts city projects on ice due to virus impact

It’s very, very disappointing to see cutbacks to the homelessness programs.

It’s always the vulnerable who have their needs easily relegated further down the priority list.

Every time I see a person sleeping rough on the streets of Adelaide, I see it as a reflection of poor governance of the part of the Adelaide  City Council and the state government.

Where there is a will there is way. Let’s see a more caring, long term sustainable approach. Jane Osborne

While I understand that these are challenging times, I am disappointed that work on the bikeways has again been delayed, this time perhaps indefinitely.

It is especially disheartening to hear when other cities around the world have decided to do the opposite in this time of change.

They have taken the opportunity to rethink how space in our cities can be reallocated, giving more room to people walking and riding. By rebalancing like this they are setting themselves up for a future which is different (and hopefully better!) than the pre-pandemic world.

It doesn’t have to be expensive: just look at the many examples of pop-up walkways and cycleways appearing around the world.

I wish we had the courage to dream a little bigger and do the same. – Daniel Grilli

Cities around the would are taking the opportunity to improve cycling infrastructure, cycling stores in Adelaide have unprecedented demand,and the Adelaide council decided to reduce spending on our very modest cycling infrastructure? David Sutton

Groan: ACC cuts to the bikeway extension and homelessness.

I get that homelessness is a more complex problem than meets the eye. But harming cyclists?

For goodness sake, how about obliterating the money going to outside “consultants”. That’s the first slash that ought to be made – given the expenditure is a tacit admission council staff can’t do their own jobs.  

I’d love to see total account of credit card, seminar/conference attendance/entertainment/lunch/dinner expenditure and have a laugh and a good cry. – Robbie Brechin

Commenting on the opinion piece: Evidence of lockdown effectiveness is there if critics care to look

Although there is no ‘gold standard’ for the management of a pandemic, as there cannot be controlled trials, there is abundant evidence to support early lockdown in limiting the initial spread of the disease.

The naysayers probably wouldn’t support the approval of random mass shootings, but allowing infected individuals to wander through the community seems a very similar activity.  

It is just as much my civil right to be protected against such random threats as open exposure to a virus, as it is to be protected against random attacks of any type.

We lock up perpetrators of random killings, but just admonish and fine those who threaten my life and health during this episode.

I resent my rights being infringed by those who willingly attempt to infect me with their illness. – John Taylor

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We’ll publish the best comments in a regular “Reader Views” post. Your comments can be brief, or we can accept up to 350 words, or thereabouts. 

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