Businesses receive $556,000 boost during pandemic

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Council rates will be waived from 1 April 2020 to 30 June 2020 for the estimated 130 Greater Geelong businesses which have been required by state government coronavirus directions to fully close, at a cost of approximately $262,000.

These impacted businesses include gyms, cinemas, function centres and night clubs. Council’s decision includes businesses that can prove they were required to shut down due to the State Directions but haven’t been identified as part of the 130 affected businesses. The rates waiver will be reviewed again in June.

Council has also endorsed a total of $283,907 in financial support to the 1,482 local businesses who pay the Central Geelong Special Rate, which will cover a quarter of the annual special rate.

The special rate raises $1.13 million each year to develop and implement programs that support Central Geelong’s activation. These activities deliver more than $20 million of total economic output per year, supporting over 30,000 jobs within the city centre.

The special rate funding will be covered within the City’s 2019-20 Budget, ensuring the Central Geelong Marketing Committee’s capacity to support Central Geelong businesses through the pandemic isn’t reduced.

This $556,000 round of financial support takes the total value of Council’s coronavirus support measures to $5.45 million for the community, plus a special COVID-19 Financial Hardship Policy. The policy offers businesses and residents experiencing financial difficulties as a result of the pandemic the ability to access deferral of fees, charges and rent, and interest on all debts from 1 March 2020 are on hold. Under special circumstances these fees, charges, rent and rates may also be waived. Anyone wishing to discuss their options is invited to email [email protected] or call 03 5272 5272.

Last night’s Council decision supports a wide range of businesses which have been significantly impacted by the pandemic.

Council’s committed to helping businesses, community groups and residents impacted by the pandemic and has previously committed to a third package to be delivered in June. This support is expected to centre on initiatives that will assist in the region’s medium and long-term recovery.

Councillor Stephanie Asher - Mayor 

Council is focused on providing targeted relief to those who need it, which is why the community can expect another coronavirus support package in June. Meanwhile, we have agreed to waive rates for businesses across the region who have been forced to close during the period of restricted activities. We have also agreed to pay a quarter of the Central Geelong Special Rate so that local businesses have relief for the period of lockdown.

Councillor Eddy Kontelj

Many small businesses are no longer trading through no fault of their own and are doing it tough. Many are at desperation stage and they are pleading for our support. They are finding themselves financially stressed and mentally fatigued, which is why we need to immediately ease the financial burden on them.

Businesses are currently doing everything they can just to survive and we need them to be strong, as the region works to climb out of the restrictions. This reprieve will go towards that. I’m pleased council’s taking another step to support these local businesses, which are the backbone of our community and employ many residents.

Page last updated: Thursday, 28 May 2020