WA Treasurer Ben Wyatt says universities and local councils can access $100 million in loans. Image by Will Russell/AAP PHOTOS

Health

WA govt loans for virus-hit unis, councils

2020-05-08 11:55:40

Universities and local governments taking a financial hit from coronavirus are being offered $100 million in short-term loans from the West Australian government.

Applications to the WA Treasury Corporation will be open from June 1, with applicants required to show how COVID-19 affects their cashflows for 2020-21.

Treasurer Ben Wyatt said the lending facility would be reviewed within three months and could be increased depending on the take-up.

“I encourage local governments and universities to take advantage of the historical low interest rates to bring forward projects to support local communities and the economic recovery from COVID-19,” he said.

Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery said universities had a challenging period ahead with reduced overseas enrolments and changes to on-campus course delivery.

“Low cost liquidity support, in the form of this new facility, will assist WA universities in meeting the challenges posed by COVID-19, and being best positioned to recover once conditions start to return to normal,” she said.

Local Government Minister David Templeman said many councils would receive less revenue than they had budgeted for and would need to draw on cash reserves.

“A new short-term liquidity facility will provide local governments a valuable tool in managing their liquidity through this crisis,” he said.

WATC has already loaned more than $590 million to local governments and $260 million to universities.