Redland City Council has noted the progress of its Stage1 COVID-19 Social and Economic Assistance Package and endorsed investigation of new, Stage 2 initiatives.
Mayor Karen Williams said that of the 11 items endorsed on 26 March 2020 as part of a more than $2 million assistance package, five were already complete and the other six were in progress.
“I’m pleased that Council has moved swiftly to play its part to relieve some of the pressure the COVID-19 pandemic has caused for Redland Coast residents and businesses,” Cr Williams said.
“This early progress paves the way for Council to now look at new options to provide further stimulus and support.
“Council has doubled the time for current rates payments and continues to work compassionately with those requesting financial relief,” she said.
“Community groups have been advised of available grants up to $10,000 to provide hardship relief to residents and one-off Council contributions made to waive electricity network charges for clubs and associations adversely impacted by COVID-19.
“Business owners may apply for grants up to $1000 to access professional business advice and up to $5000 to re-engineer their business operations to remain viable.
“Already we’ve received 26 applications for these grants, across all categories. Application information is available on Council’s website.”
Cr Williams said Council was also giving preference to local suppliers, with a 10 per cent advantage to be applied, while Council’s own local spend increased by approximately four per cent in the past quarter and 97 per cent of invoices paid within 14 days.
“In addition to providing increased flexibility in many of Council regulatory requirements, a substantial area of support has been delivered through advice to community and businesses,” she said.
“Council’s support officers have helped local businesses, social enterprises, community groups and sporting clubs access Federal and State government economic stimulus packages.
“Council support services have effectively triaged business and organisation information needs by helping point to relevant support with forty percent of business inquiries seeking information on government stimulus support.
Twenty one percent of business inquiries to date have been accommodation and food services businesses and eighteen percent from manufacturing.
“This support information is also being offered through regular e-newsletters to more than 1400 business recipients and updates on Council’s COVID-19 Business and Community page.
“Approximately 400 tourism and event businesses have also received six industry specific e-newsletter updates while our officers have individually contacted more than 80 event organisers.
“Council is committed to working closely with industry representatives and government agencies to ensure tourism and events operators receive the help they need.”
Cr Williams said opportunities to bring forward State Government investment in major infrastructure projects was also being identified, including through programs administered by the Department of Transport and Main Roads.
“While it is impossible to completely remove the burden this pandemic is having on Redlands Coast, Council remains committed to doing what it can to continue supporting our local people, community organisations and businesses.”