The first recruits of Darwin council’s so-called $1 million “Green Army” general labourers are now set to be deployed throughout the city for maintenance, cleaning, and landscaping tasks.
It comes on the same day Lord Mayor Kon Vatskalis signaled council would look to use its share of the NT Government’s released $13.1 million to local governments to waive or defer rates for people and businesses experiencing hardship from the COVID-19 pandemic.
If that proposal passes through council, rates wouldn’t be due for some until November. Details are currently being hashed out Mr Vatskalis said, adding that waiving rates for a quarter rather than a permanent reduction, would mean council could provide services without cutting to deep into its revenue.
The green army is part of the council’s claimed $55 million economic relief package to provide financial support to local households and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Up to 100 individuals were employed to carry out a range of maintenance, greening and city beautification tasks across parks and reserves, laneways, footpaths and other projects currently being undertaken by the Darwin Council.
Each Army member will be working six hour shifts, five days a week, with staggered starts throughout the day.
Three thousand five hundred trees have also been purchased from local nurseries for planting.
Lord Mayor Kon Vatskalis said the program provides short term employment opportunities to Darwin residents who had recently lost employment as a result of COVID-19.
“The interest in these roles has been enormous and clearly demonstrates that some members of our community are really hurting at the moment,” Mr Vatskalis said.
“Although we haven’t been able to employ all the applicants, this initiative has been able to provide short term casual employment for 100 locals,” he adds.
All recruits will be provided with full training and be eligible for the Construction White Card.
This employment is until June 30, 2020.