Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson is pushing for intrastate travel to resume to help the region recover from the financial blow of COVID-19.
Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson is pushing for intrastate travel to resume to help the region recover from the financial blow of COVID-19.

Virus fallout burns $4.5m hole in council pocket

SUNSHINE Coast Council's revenue has suffered a $4.5 million blow as holiday parks and venues remain closed due to the global virus pandemic.

The council's monthly financial report released yesterday showed a clearer picture of the financial blow caused by COVID-19.

In recognition of this, councillors voted unanimously in favour of putting their two per cent wage increase on hold.

Councillor Ted Hungerford said the closure of council-owned holiday parks had caused a $1 million loss to operating revenue. Meanwhile a $500,000 blow was experienced due to the closure of community venues including the Sunshine Coast Stadium.

Cr Hungerford said it could take years for the council and the community to recover.

The council has also waived food licensing fees, benefiting 2300 businesses and rent for 271 commercial community businesses.

"Local government has the smallest levers economically to support the community," Cr Hungerford said.

"We receive just three per cent total tax revenue … so we're punching above our weight.

"We'll be looking to other levels of government to assist … because I believe dealing with this is going to take more than a few months … it'll take a couple of years."

Mayor Mark Jamieson said the impact the closure of holiday parks had on the council's coffers provided insight into the "dire situation" faced by many businesses.

"That is a real threat for council that needs to be carefully managed," he said.

Cr Jamieson said during recent discussions with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk he pushed for the acceleration of intrastate travel.

"We will be better placed when we can welcome visitors to our holiday parks," he said.

During the meeting councillors voted unanimously in favour of putting their annual pay rise on hold.

Councillor Rick Baberoski said it was the "very least we could do".