A fair chunk of the workforce have never been of employment age in a recessionary economy, and it would be fair to say even with a pandemic, it still seems that the notion of taking on high levels of debt for any level of government is risky politically.
But while it is very easy to get scared by all of the very big numbers being bandied around, it’s critical that all levels of Government recognise that there is a time and place for it.
Two things that matter are firstly, what the interest rate is when repaying the debt, and what you are actually funding.
When it comes to interest rate there is no better time, and when we are investing in productive infrastructure, it’s not just how many jobs are created now, but the positive benefits received by generations to come which make it a good strategic decision.
There are already a number of infrastructure projects that the local government have invested in, such as the Mitcham Memorial Library, winner of the UDIA Awards for Excellence in Public Realm, and the City of Salisbury Community Centre which recently finished construction. The benefits from these projects have a profound effect on our lifestyles, urban settings and educational outcomes for our future generations.
With an income stream which doesn’t suffer the fluctuations of the private sector or even State Government for that matter, Local Government, now more than ever have an important role in supporting our consultant and contractor members in the development industry.
Stimulus packages like Homebuilder conclude in the middle of next year and public projects required much more planning and lead time before they commence, so the time is right.
Wouldn’t it be great to say when we look back one day, something good came from all of this?
UDIA SA CEO Pat Gerace was interviewed by the Local Government Association of South Australia (LGA SA) for their series of videos on thought leadership in relation to COVID-19 and what councils can do to support recovery in their communities. The full campaign can be found at the LGA website here. View the full video below.