Information about support measures introduced by the council to support businesses and community members impacted by the Coronavirus crisis.
Our support measures
The following measures were announced by the council on Tuesday 24 March 2020:
- development of a Council COVID-19 financial hardship policy including consideration of rates
- waiver of rent/fees for community and sporting groups within City owned land/grounds and buildings for six months from 1 March 2020
- reduction of rent by 50 per cent for eligible commercial tenants in City buildings or on City land for six months from 1 March 2020
- refund of Alfresco Dining permit fees for 12 months
- refund of A frame permit fees for 12 months
- refund of food premises registration fees for three months of the 2019-2020 financial year
- refund of health premises fees for three months of the 2019-2020 financial year
- development of Business Support Portal for local businesses
- development of Small Business Expert Support Program utilising local businesses
- Geelong Business Concierge Service Expansion to support business program development and
- free casual on and off street parking in the Geelong CBD until 30 June 2020.
These measures will form part of a short-term economic and community support package to be finalised by April 2020.
Councillors have also agreed to the development of a medium to longer-term package to be funded in the 2020-2021 financial year and presented to the council by June.
Free parking in the Geelong CBD
Free casual on and off street parking in the Geelong CBD is effective immediately and will run until 30 June 2020.
A key aim of this measure it to help slow the spread of the virus by removing the need for people to touch parking meters and support our major business centre.
Free parking applies to all paid metered parking in the Geelong CBD:
- 2P, 3P and 4P on street parking and
- 2P, 3P, 4P and all day casual off street parking.
The measure does not apply to off street paid permit parking in the Busport, Civic Centre, Wesley and Haymarket car parks. Permit holders paying monthly may choose to suspend their permits until they are required.
Time limits will still be in place to encourage turnover in these parking spaces and ensure convenient access by shoppers and visitors to central Geelong. This will make it easier for people to park in central Geelong to access essential services.
COVID-19 financial hardship policy
This policy will be announced in April 2020 and will consider opportunities where the Council can support the community, groups and businesses facing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. This could include support for payment of applicable City fees, rates and charges.
Eligibility for 50 per cent rent reduction
The aim of this relief package for commercial tenants in City buildings or on City land is to support local small businesses affected by COVID-19.
We will be contacting all eligible tenants in the near future.
Eligibility for six months rent/fee free package
The aim of this relief package for community and sporting groups using City-owned land, grounds or buildings is to support community groups and clubs that have been affected by COVID-19 requiring the closure of facilities and/or inability to use grounds for their activities.
We will be contacting all eligible organisations in the near future.
Further support measures
The council’s full short-term support package is due to be finalised and announced during April 2020. A further medium/long-term package will be presented to the council by June 2020.
Small Business Expert Support Program
The program will work by providing businesses access to expert advice in HR, Finance, and Ecommerce.
The City will issue a voucher for use at agreed local businesses to seek this expert advice. The voucher will be for an agreed dollar value based on the expert service provided.
Vouchers will be available from Monday 30 March 2020. Please call 03 5272 5272.
Business Support Portal for local businesses
The portal will act as the basis of an e-concierge service pointing businesses in the direction of the various help that is available.
It will provide businesses with advice about how to access expert support, mental health support, and state and federal government assistance. It will also be a place to post support that one business may be able to offer another.
It will be in place by Monday 30 March 2020.