Covid-19 - Request to Re-open Island & Financial Relief

The Lord Howe Island Board met on 8 September this week and considered a range of matters. This householder is to inform people of two of this decisions.

COVID-19 Recovery Plan and request to re-open island

The Board considered a report and consulted broadly regarding the Public Health Order that has restricted access to Lord Howe Island since March this year. The restrictions have been extended a number times since March. The report can be seen at the following link or access from the Board’s web page. COVID-19 Recovery Plan Report

The unanimous resolution of the Board was as follows:

  1. The Board receive and note this report.
  2. The Board commence implementation of the COVID-19 Recovery Plan with a view to  seeking a repeal of the Public Health (COVID-19 Lord Howe Island) Order (No 4) 2020 on 25 September 2020.
  3. The Board receive regular (weekly) updates on the status of the implementation of the COVID-19 Recovery Plan.

It is noted that this resolution is to request the Minister for Health to repeal the Public Health Order. The decision to implement, amend or repeal a Public Health Order can only be made by the Minister for Health who takes advice from NSW Health and other relevant persons as appropriate. It is therefore important to note that it will not be until a decision is made by the Minister that it will be clear whether or when the island might re-open.

In the meantime, the Board will be seeking to encourage as early a decision by the Minister as practical to allow certainty for all.

Financial assistance for businesses

The Board had decided earlier this year to provide relief from some fees and charges for businesses due to the impacts of COVID-19 and the resultant closure of the island.

Given that the closure and therefore impacts on businesses has now extended beyond the March to June quarter, the Board resolved to apply further financial relief. The unanimous resolution was as follows:

  1. The Board Administration continues to discuss and implement where appropriate, repayment plans and other measures to assist businesses and individuals who might be experiencing hardship.
  2. The Board approve fee relief as identified from the list in Table 1 to facilitate further support relating to the first quarter of the financial year 2020-21 for the Lord Howe Island community and its economic viability because of the COVID-19 virus pandemic.

Details of the fee relief and support package can be found in the business paper on the following link. Business Support Package COVID-19 Report

If you cannot access this link or the Board’s web site please contact the Board who can supply details.

Should you have concerns in regard to your ability to pay Board invoices at this time please contact the Board’s Manager Business and Corporate Services Mr John van Gaalen to discuss your situation and assess options available.