Wagga coronavirus: Council to take $2 million hit as COVID-19 crisis bites bottom line

One NSW council is set to lose $2 million in revenue by the end of the financial year, prompting calls for an urgent cash injection from the state and federal governments.

The blow to Wagga City Council's bottom line comes as it suspends or reduces fees and charges for small businesses and property holders facing hardships due to the coronavirus crisis, as well as providing rent abatements for council's tenants.

As a result, general manager Peter Thompson said the council would definitely suffer a significant drop in revenue.

The council also lost income streams from its facilities that were forced to close, such as the civic theatre, swimming pool, Bolton Park and the multi-purpose stadium at the Equex Centre.

"Of course the circumstances are changing all the time. At the moment our expectation is that by the end of this financial year we will have a loss of at least $2 million on this year's budget," Mr Thompson said.

He said the council would be expecting a lot more residents to seek rates payment plans after finding themselves in a financial position that they could never have anticipated.

Adding to the blow, Prime Minister Scott Morrison declared on Friday that council workers would be ineligible for a new wage subsidy scheme. It was a decision that Mr Thompson said was "incredibly disappointing" and had the "real possibility of causing harm" to every community in Australia.

"They're providing support to billion-dollar businesses. But they have provided no support at all to the councils across the country," he said.

With more than 650 staff, Wagga council is one of the largest employers in the city. Since the closure of multiple facilities, many casual staff who could no longer do their normal role have been left without work.

However, Mr Thompson said the council had paid these staff about four weeks of wages.

"The goal is to try and find alternative work for staff to do during this period - even if it is nothing like their normal job," he said.

This story This NSW council prepares for a $2 million hit as COVID-19 bites first appeared on The Daily Advertiser.