THE centrepiece of the next South Gippsland Shire Council meeting, live-streamed on Wednesday, April 22, will be the annual budget.

However, while those looking for ‘rate relief’ as a headline will initially be disappointed, Administrator Julie Eisenbise is well aware it will be an issue for many in the present climate.

“We’re putting up what I call a ‘draft of the draft’ so everything is on the table, but we want to wait until we see the data before we put forward our response.

“Clearly, the COVID-19 restrictions are having a major impact on business and on jobs and this week, at a preliminary meeting, we’ll start to see some of the local data.

“We just didn’t want to be making any knee-jerk response until we had a better idea of the impact.”

Ms Eisenbise said a priority of the shire would be to have a list of major and minor projects ‘shovel ready’ waiting for the government stimulus package which will inevitably follow the present crisis.

“We’ve also got to be looking at 2025. We’ll come out of this and we’ve got to be planning for that as well.”

Ms Eisenbise said she would be welcoming community feedback on the budget but such things as rate relief, rate deferral, reductions in staff, staff hours or projects to achieve savings were not on the agenda at this stage.