EXTEND ZONE TO 10KM TO SUPPORT OUR EATERIES
Deputy Lord Mayor and Lord Mayoral candidate Arron Wood AM is urging the Victorian Government to expand the 5km distance from home restriction to 10km to breathe some much-needed life in to City of Melbourne businesses.
“Restaurants, cafes and bars in the City of Melbourne had their hopes and optimism crushed last Sunday by the protracted return to dine-in and the extension of the 5km radius that people are permitted their leave homes,” Arron said.
“The city is a ghost town; there are very few workers and students passing through so, even if our hospitality venues open for take-away, they’re just not getting customers through the door to justify opening at all.
“If we just extended the 5km radius to 10km, this would open up a whole new clientele for our city businesses to serve: residents of suburbs like Footscray, Port Melbourne and Prahran who are currently not allowed to travel in to the city.”
Arron said this gesture would offer a small glimmer of hope for hospitality and food venues that are just hanging in there.
“With school holidays coming up, it would also offer up more options for families who live between five and 10 kilometres from the CBD; they could go for a COVID-safe walk through some of our renowned gardens and then pick up lunch or dinner before heading home,” Arron said.
“The Victorian Government hasn’t factored in the impact of the 5km restriction on City of Melbourne restaurants and cafes, which are a different kettle of fish to suburban outlets. Extending the radius will also mean more customers for our beloved Queen Victoria Market, with traders doing it tough because almost two thirds of their regular customers live outside the 5km radius.
“A key pillar of my five-point plan is to bring people back into the city, to bring people back to work in a COVID-safe way, in shifts, or weekly rotations, to help support our small businesses as well as the mental health of employees who want to go back to work.”
Arron recently announced a Small Business Care Package including a policy to implement a voucher system policy for City of Melbourne dining establishments, a plan that was echoed by the Restaurant and Catering Industry.
“Darwin introduced a voucher system in early June – where residents and tourists registered with Council to receive digital vouchers for varying amounts and each voucher has a minimum spend requirement to use it,” Arron said.
“In three months, the scheme resulted in an additional $7 dollars spent for every $1 in vouchers.
“Similarly, the UK Government scheme, Eat out to Help Out, resulted in a 10 per cent increase in booking traffic compared to the same time last year according to popular UK dining booking site OpenTable.”
Arron said he has also committed to a rate freeze for small business ratepayers up to 2021-22.
“I fought hard for the rate freeze this financial year, not all Councillors agreed with it, and I will extend it to next year as well because it’s important we help, not hinder, our small business,” Arron said.
“I have served on Council for eight years, including six months as Acting Lord Mayor and four years as Deputy Lord Mayor, and I’m proud of my track record of working with community and small business to achieve policy outcomes and results.
“The City Of Melbourne’s future is too important to leave in the hands of people who either have no experience negotiating the best outcomes for small business with Spring Street, or sat back too long before they prioritised the short walk from Town Hall to Parliament.”