City offers relief through lockdown

Local businesses, the creative sector and vulnerable communities are set to benefit from lockdown relief from the City of Sydney.

The City will provide $5 million in grants and donations and an additional $7.8 million in estimated revenue foregone each month to provide relief through fee waivers, rent reduction, quick response grants and food security.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the City was preparing to revitalise the city through more outdoor dining, live music, events and performances when the health crisis has passed.

“The pandemic has had a severe impact on our community and economy. We are providing support through the crisis and ensuring we’re ready to help breathe life back into the city when lockdowns are lifted,” the Lord Mayor said.

“Funding the provision of food and masks and offering rapid response grants to community organisations and initiatives will help us support our most vulnerable.

“As restrictions ease, we will once again need to revitalise our city and attract workers and visitors back, safely. We are opening an exciting new grants program that will encourage neighbouring businesses and creatives to collaborate on events and activations that will enliven whole city precincts.

“We will continue to work closely with the NSW Government to help businesses reopen, attract patrons and operate in a Covid-safe way when the lockdown lifts.”

The state and federal government recently announced a joint multi-billion dollar Covid-19 support package to provide immediate financial relief for businesses across Greater Sydney. In complementing the government’s package, the City’s immediate relief and post-lockdown package will support Sydney businesses and the economy as part of its overarching community recovery plan goals.

The program includes:

  • $4 million in grants for businesses and creatives to collaborate on initiatives to support reactivation post-lockdown, including funding for resources to do so.
  • $8.9 million cash and value-in-kind through existing City grant programs to support economy, culture and community.
  • An additional $250,000 in new Covid-19 community emergency quick response grants to support small-scale initiatives which build the capacity of our communities to respond to the current impacts of the pandemic.
  • Donations of $300,000 each for OzHarvest and Foodbank, and $100,000 for SecondBite to enable vulnerable communities to access food.
  • $50,000 for masks for vulnerable communities, and increased communication to connect people with mental health and social connection support services.
  • Extension of the successful outdoor dining program and waiving of associated fees across the local government area until 30 June 2022.
  • Continuing existing fee waivers for footway dining, venue hire, banners, parking services, childcare and health and compliance activities and work with tenants in City-owned properties on rent rebates for the lockdown period, at an estimated total value of $7.8 million per month.

Donations to vulnerable communities and community emergency quick response grants will be made as soon as possible.

The Lord Mayor said that lockdowns were taking a devastating social, health and economic toll, and would require a concerted effort from all levels of government to recover from.

“The need for such drastic action highlights just how serious the situation is. It also highlights just how seriously we have been let down by the Federal Government,” the Lord Mayor said.

“We need an urgent rollout of vaccines, greater health and safety in quarantine for incoming travellers and more support for businesses and people – including the urgent reinstatement of JobKeeper.

“It is the Federal Government’s role to look after people. It is the State Government’s role to look after businesses. It is the City’s role to reinvigorate the CBD and attract workers, visitors and tourists back to support our businesses when the time comes – but we must survive before we can look to recovery.

“We can’t shut the economy down and expect people to stay home without proper support. JobKeeper helped Sydney’s businesses and workers through the worst of the first lockdown. We need it back, now. And we need vaccines and an effective campaign that tells people it’s our duty to get vaccinated – for each of us, our families, our communities, our economy and future.”

The lockdown recovery package builds on the $72.5 million support package released by the City in April 2020 for small businesses, artists and others in the creative and community sectors, and the $20 million CBD revitalisation fund established by the City and NSW government in October 2020 to boost the city centre economy and support businesses over the summer months.

Since the onset of the pandemic, the City has also operated a business concierge service to provide one-on-one advice and support to local businesses and organisations about support available from the City of Sydney, and how to access state and federal packages.

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