Borough announces extensive support measures for ratepayers and businesses
The Borough of Queenscliffe has announced more than $309,000 of funding to support local businesses and residents during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Councillors formally adopted the measures at Thursday night’s meeting as part of Council’s budget processes.
Ratepayers who are facing significant financial distress will benefit from an expanded hardship scheme. This scheme will allow ratepayers who have lost their source of income due to the coronavirus pandemic to access interest-free payment plans and deferrals for up to six months. The Borough has also allocated a further $90,000 to a hardship reserve fund to ensure additional support can be deployed quickly if required.
Council is also reducing the size of projected rate increases by providing $130,000 in rebates of waste charges over the next financial year. This reduction will automatically be applied to rate notices, and will reduce the estimated increase in waste management charges by $42 for residential ratepayers.
"We know many of our residents are struggling financially due to the ongoing effects of this pandemic," said Mayor Ross Ebbels. "That's why we'll be providing every resident with a rebate on waste charges, and offering additional, targeted support to those residents who need it."
The Borough of Queenscliffe is also providing extensive support to local business and traders, announcing a list of fee reductions and waivers including:
• Twelve months of fee-free environmental health, outdoor seating and A-frame permits.
• Six months of free rent for community groups and businesses operating out of
• Free access to professional business support services.
These measures are expected to save local traders and community groups almost $85,000 in costs and fees over the next financial year.
"Our local businesses aren't just the economic heart of the Borough, they're a fundamental part of our community's character," said Cr Ebbels. "These reductions in fees and charges will make sure businesses have fewer bills to worry about and can focus on navigating this challenging time."
Combined, these support measures are expected to cost Council $309,066 – one of the largest financial support packages ever announced by the Borough of Queenscliffe. Businesses may also be eligible for further relief from other government sources, and are encouraged to visit business.vic.gov.au or ato.gov.au to check their eligibility.