Council unveils $1.7m community and business support package

Posted on March 30, 2020

Mayor Wayne Johnston has outlined Meander Valley Council’s $1.7m community support package, formalised at a special Council meeting today.

“The release of this package will allow residents and businesses to make plans with some clarity on the support to be provided by Council,” Mayor Johnston said.

Mayor Johnston describes the initiatives as a comprehensive support package providing both immediate relief to reduce expenses for residents and business and longer term measures to assist the municipality to recover. The package is also financially responsible and is within Council’s capacity to deliver.

Specific Measures Include:

Immediate rate waivers for most owners of commercial and recreational property
Most properties valued and used for commercial and recreational purposes will not be charged rates from 1 April 2020 to 30 September 2020. Council will also be strongly advocating for cost savings to be passed on to commercial tenants such as small businesses.

Suspension of any increase in annual rates charges, planning, building and licensing fees
All property owners can expect no increases to Council’s rates charges for the next financial year. In addition, community members utilising Council’s services and facilities will see no increases in fees for the same period and any increases associated with changes to the CPI will not be applied.

No fees for operators, sports clubs and users of Council’s recreation grounds and buildings
All fees normally charged to operators, sporting clubs and community groups for Council facilities will cease, effective immediately. This arrangement will remain in place until the COVID-19 emergency is declared over.

Temporary removal of all fees associated with food business licensing
To assist the hospitality sector with recovery, there will be no fees charged for food business licensing during the 2020-21 financial year.

A package of small grants aimed at helping community and business recovery
New funding will be available to help organisations recover from the cost of cancelled events and to assist with the delivery of new community events during the recovery phase. Grant funding for small business will also be available in the first quarter of the 2020-21 financial year. This funding is critically timed to assist small business to recommence operations and re-open after forced shutdowns due to the COVID -19 pandemic.

Helping those who help us – we will provide direct support to community service providers
Council will step up direct support for community services provided by volunteers that are deemed to be at higher risk during the COVID-19 pandemic. Temporary community car drivers have been employed and Council staff may also been re-deployed to provide additional support to community groups where needed. This is essential to ensure those who are not leaving their homes are supported.