Council expands COVID-19 support
Published on 18 August 2020
Maribyrnong City Council has expanded its COVID-19 Community and Business Relief packages to provide an additional $2.5m in support to vulnerable members of the community and businesses. This follows $6.5m in support since April 2020 and a zero rate rise – totaling $11m in support.
City of Maribyrnong Mayor, Cr Sarah Carter said: “I am very proud to announce that Council has provided $11 million in resources and assistance to the community since April 2020 – through the initial COVID-19 relief packages, a zero rate increase, in-kind support and our expanded COVID-19 Business and Community Support packages.
"During this difficult time, it is important that we continue to provide the relief packages already in place and that we support those who are most at risk in our community - our vulnerable residents, community organisations and local traders.
"Council has received a total of 1,446 requests for assistance from vulnerable people, due to COVID-19 impact on our community. This includes 180 requests from Early Years, 700 via Aged Care Assessments, 230 via Youth Services, 310 from Community Connectors and 26 from community centres. Delivered meals have also increased by 60%.
"Council's expanded COVID-19 Community and Business Relief Support Packages include funding and material support for vulnerable families and young people, and referrals to key services, including housing, family violence, mental health, education and employment pathways. This also includes much needed initiatives to provide support for our local businesses."
At the Ordinary Council meeting on Tuesday 18 August 2020, Council made a decision to expand its current relief program by a further $2.5 million including $1,934,185 allocated to extend a range of existing support initiatives such as rate relief/deferrals; lease and license fee reductions; fee waivers; COVID-19 community grants and arts grants (see detailed list below).
Council also resolved to provide targeted relief packages for Families and Young People ($350,000), and a Business Relief Package ($271,000). The packages aim to support those most vulnerable in the community and include the following:
- Material and Financial Aid ($150,000): In partnership with local agencies, this program will focus on material and financial aid for young people and families experiencing extreme hardship in the City of Maribyrnong. The aim of the program is to support those people in greatest need and provide additional support beyond the current capacity of other local agencies.
- Family Violence and Mental Health Support and Pathways Program ($150,000): The funding will enable prompt access to local mental health support services to address needs of families and young people living in the City of Maribyrnong. This funding would particularly focus on young people experiencing family breakdown and family violence as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Skills Development and Employment Pathway Program ($50,000): The program will develop a skills pathways and mentoring network that will provide career and employment advice and skill building to support a vulnerable young people; also link participants to Federal and State Government skills and employment programs. The program aims to support people on JobSeeker benefits and other low income households to navigate future employment opportunities in the current and post COVID-19 environment.
- Local Shopping Centre – ‘Buy local’ and ‘Activation’ Campaign ($150,000): Council’s ongoing support to our local traders and business community is vital, through promoting ‘buy local’ and ‘activation’ initiatives through a marketing campaign as well as other activation initiatives for our traders and business community.
- Business Improvement District (BID) program ($100,000): This program aims to address the impact of COVID-19 on traders including the provision of Personal and Protective Equipment, and developing digital initiatives to support Maribyrnong traders.
- Activating local shopping centres through COVID safe outdoor dining: COVID-19 significantly impacts the way people work, live, shop and travel, posing challenges for an effective community response to social distancing requirements. Parklets are repurposed parking bays which are designed to create spaces for pedestrian activity and include seating, dining areas, greenery and bike parking.
- Improve access to local shopping centres through investment in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure: delivered from capital, grants and Government funding.
- Trader Association Fees Support ($21,000).
Expansion of COVID-19 Business and Community Relief Support Packages ($2.5 million)
Expansion of Current Relief Program ($1,934,185)
- Deferral of payment of municipal rates for affected residential and business (commercial and industrial) ratepayers for the quarter 4 instalment in the 2019/20 rating year (May installment) and the first instalment in the 2020/21 rating year (extended to 30 March 2021).
- No interest will be charged on COVID-19 eligible deferral of rates (extended to March 2021).
- COVID-19 affected business eligible to receive a 50% rebate on the quarter 4 (May 2020) instalment of municipal rates. Eligible businesses to receive a 25% rebate on the Quarter 1 (September 2020) instalment.
- Reduction of 50% on commercial rental for businesses leasing property from Council in addition to lease payments being deferred until 30 September 2020 (extended to 31 December 2020).
- Current food businesses will have registration fees waived for this year and 50% for 2021.
- Outdoor dining permit fees to be waived for the year commencing 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021 for COVID-19 affected business. For businesses that have already paid this fee they will be reimbursed upon application.
- New business start-up fees waived until 30 September 2020 (extended to 30 June 2021).
- Fees for amendments to planning applications waived until 30 September 2020 (extended to 30 June 2021).
- Deferral of rental until 30 September 2020 for sporting clubs under commercial rental agreements (extended to 30 June 2021).
- Waiving pet registration fees for COVID-19 affected residents and upon application, reimbursement of fees already paid for 2020 until March 2021.
- Waiving of lease, license and ground fees until 31 December 2020 and waiving of utility and water fees until 30 September 2020 for not for profit community sporting clubs (extended to 30 June 2021).
- Reduction of 50% on commercial rental for arts organisations leasing property from Council in addition to lease payments being deferred until 30 September 2020 (Snuff Puppets, Blacksmith, Big Fish) (extended until March 2021).
- On application, Maribyrnong based not for profit community arts organisation eligible to receive a grant of up to $10,000 to assist with rental and other costs - community arts grants program.
- Waiving of lease and licence fees until 30 September 2020 for not for profit community organisations leasing property from Council who have been required to suspend operations in order to comply with Federal and State Government directives (extended to December 2020).
- Expansion of the Food Services program
- Continue to maintain contact with vulnerable members of the community and establish teams of staff to assess community need and link those in need with services and support and provide practical assistance where possible.
Families and Young People Relief Package ($350,000)
- Material and Financial Aid Program ($150,000)
- Family Violence and Mental Health ($150,000) Support and Pathways Program
- Skills Development and Employment Pathway Program ($50,000)
Business Relief Package ($271,000)
- Business Improvement District (BID) program to address the impact of COVID-19 on traders ($100,000)
- Fee and Rates support (extension of existing program as above)
- Local Shopping Centre campaign – ‘Buy local’ and ‘Activation’ ($150,000)
- Activating local shopping centres through COVID safe outdoor dining
- Improve access to local shopping centres through investment in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure - delivered from capital, grants and Government funding
- Trader Association Fees Support ($21,000)
For further information about Council's response to COVID-19, visit maribyrnong.vic.gov.au/COVID
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