Hobsons Bay City Council has endorsed its fifth community support package, aimed at businesses and sporting groups, as the state government’s road map begins to unfold.
The latest community support package will bring Council’s total investment in COVID support to $10.8 million and has been developed as an urgent and direct response to the ongoing lockdown that has affected Victoria.
The package includes:
- further support for businesses, including an extension to the waiver of food ($530,000) and health ($40,000) registrations and the waiver of footpath trading permit fees ($120,000) for the 2021-22 year
- rent relief to eligible tenants of Council buildings, at this stage estimated to be in the order of $100,000
- a proposed $100,000 for an innovation and collaboration event to support local businesses pivot to take advantage of new and changing opportunities, with additional grants to support new and emerging business ideas
- extension of the current waiver of ground allocation fees and assistance with electricity bills ($85,000) to support sporting clubs
- additional support to the arts via a program of live outdoor music across the municipality, which will enable more local artists to be engaged ($50,000)
This is in addition to previous support packages that have targeted those most affected by the COVID pandemic – local businesses, community groups, young people, the creative industry and people who have experienced financial hardship during this time. Previous initiatives have included:
- Hobsons Bay Business has Heart Outdoors with its extended outdoor trading areas across 43 areas benefitting 193 businesses to minimise the impact of capacity restrictions
- the Hobsons Bay Business has Heart program through grants and marketing support
- the Make It Happen grants program and its $760,000 of funding for 109 community groups to facilitate recovery and reconnection following the 2020 lockdowns
- rental rebates, fee waivers, and assistance with utility bills for sporting clubs
- rate waivers and reductions for residents and businesses
- a further round of targeted business support, youth employment support, a contribution to the 2021 round of Make It Happen Hobsons Bay Recovery and Reconnection Grants and a program and support for artists and the creative community – totalling $650,00 as part of the 2021-22 Annual Budget
Council’s services have also pivoted to continue to deliver for the community in a COVID-Safe way, including Hobsons Bay Libraries’ Book a Book and subsequent click and collect service, virtual programs and online support.
Council will be contacting eligible businesses, tenants and sporting clubs directly regarding fee waivers, rent relief and, where applicable, support for utility bills. Details on the businesses and arts events are being finalised and will be released via www.hobsonsbay.vic.gov.au/CommunitySupportPackages, Council’s eWorks and Arts and Events eNewsletters and through Council’s social media channels.
Quotes attributable to Mayor of Hobsons Bay Cr Jonathon Marsden:
“Since Council adopted its 2021-22 Budget, the situation across Hobsons Bay and the whole of Victoria has not improved. Extended lockdowns and high case numbers could not have been foreseen and it has meant we have had to look deeper for ways to further support our community as we prepare to exit lockdown once vaccination targets are met.
“Council’s work in the COVID emergency response and recovery phase has been strong, we have supported the state government in its testing and COVID Safe messaging as well as local health authorities in their vaccination efforts.
“These additional programs build on some great initiatives already achieved, or in train, to support our community – it will hopefully help lighten the load for some and give us a sense of hope and something to look forward to.”