Greater Shepparton City Council has stepped up its financial support for the community, announcing a $2M Stage 2 Greater Shepparton Economic Response to COVID-19 Package at last night’s June Council Meeting.
The package includes a raft of measures aimed at assisting the community in dealing with the significant economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The $2M package includes 29 measures and targets four key areas:
- Business and Economy
- Visitor Economy
Stage 2 will continue to strengthen the ongoing resilience and capacity within the community, as well as enabling Council to be more agile in its planning, processing and delivery of services.
This follows the original announcement of a Stage 1 package in March, which included 21 measures to assist the community financially; including the popular $170,000 Quick Response Grants Program, which saw 60 local businesses receive up to $3,000 each to assist transitioning to online and e-commerce activity.
Stage 2 will have a larger focus on recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, rather than the response, as we begin to see some restrictions eased throughout Victoria and Australia.
The Stage 2 package also includes implementing the $8M Working for Victoria initiative, which is expected to create more than 200 jobs in Greater Shepparton.
Greater Shepparton City Council Mayor, Cr Seema Abdullah said Council is confident Stage 2 would build on the success of Stage 1.
“COVID-19 has severely affected many members of our community in a number of ways, and the extent of the impact is yet to be fully understood,” Cr Abdullah said.
“We understand many members of our community are doing it tough. From the outset of this pandemic, we have pledged our support to the community, and we hope this is evident in these two stages of the Greater Shepparton Economic Response to COVID-19 Package.
“We were pleased with the results of Stage 1 and believe Stage 2 can have a similar impact. Once again, like Stage 1, this package attempts to use the guidance of State and Federal Government, and build on their efforts.”
Continue reading for the full list of 29 measures that make up the Stage 2 Greater Shepparton Economic Response to COVID-19 Package. For full details, please visit Council’s website.
Business and Economy
- Implementing the Working for Victoria initiative in Greater Shepparton, creating in excess of 200 jobs in Greater Shepparton.
- A Business Rebound and Resilience Mentoring Program utilising a locally focused mentoring approach to support local businesses to adapt to changing work practices and models to support reactivation, recovery and future planning.
- Greater Shepparton business and services recovery campaign “You Want it We Got it” to increase local and regional spend and assist with financial recovery for Greater Shepparton businesses.
- Great Things Happen Here – Getting Greater – Invest and Grow campaign to market the Greater Shepparton region as the place to invest, start or grow an existing business. With a push to invest in Australian-based manufacturing, Greater Shepparton is strongly positioned to attract further manufacturing initiatives to the area.
- Great Things Happen Here – Careers and Lifestyles strategy aimed at workforce attraction and retention. Enticing more people to live regionally and encouraging our young people to learn, earn and live locally. This will also support our local tertiary education sector and provide a localised workforce to fill existing and future skills and workforce gaps.
- A 10 per cent reduction on fees for class two and three food businesses, beauty and accommodation premises. The fee reduction excludes supermarkets and large food manufactures.
- Council to work with State and Federal Governments on leveraging significant COVID-19 stimulus funding opportunities to increase job creation and economic activity in the region, such as the Maude Street Mall Redevelopment, Museum of Vehicle Evolution project and Local Road and Community Infrastructure program
- Ensure the 2050 Regional Growth Plan supports the investigation of long-term growth areas to ensure sufficient land supply.
- Bring forward the strategic work program relating to future industrial and residential growth corridors to ensure that the corridors are in a position to be developed when needed and ensure sufficient land supply – 15 years of zoned supply
- Businesses are able to enter into a payment arrangement or apply for financial hardship consideration regarding rates. No interest will be raised on business rates from 16 March 2020 until 30 September 2020.
- COVID-19 Community Quick Response Round 1 Grant Program across Arts grants, Community Matching, Our Sporting Future and Events grants to access funding faster to implement community projects and activities to aid and adapt in COVID-19 activation and recovery. A total pool of $150,000 is available.
- Development of a Community Recovery Committee in partnership with other service providers.
- Increased support of an additional $20,000 to support Shepparton Food Share.
- Increased support of an additional $10,000 to support Shepparton Family and Financial Services initiatives.
- Continued financial support of Greater Shepparton Foundation.
- In partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services support the Community Activation and Social Isolation (CASI) initiative.
- Reduction in rent by 50% for tenants of Council owned buildings or facilities from 1 July 2020 to 30 September 2020.
- All fees waived for all sport clubs who lease Council managed buildings/facilities in 2020/2021.
- All Section 86 Committees of Management of Recreation Reserves and DELWP owned Committee of Managements of Recreation Reserves reimbursed for utility costs for 2020/2021.
- All ground hire fees waived for Council managed outdoor sports facilities (excluding light charges) for the 2020/2021 financial year.
- Provide foundation user groups indoor court hire at off peak rates for 2020/2021 bookings.
- Residents are able to enter into a payment arrangement or apply for financial hardship consideration regarding rates. No interest will be raised on resident rates from 16 March 2020 until 30 September 2020
- COVID-19 Visitor Economy Recovery and Activation Grant Program for visitor economy businesses including the accommodation sector, transport operators, event suppliers and contractors, tour companies, attractions, wellness tourism, farm gate experiences, retail who have a direct link to local produce, hospitality and food production. A total funding pool of $125,000 available with grants of up to $5,000 per business available.
- Supporting tourism campaigns and visitor economy support initiatives identified in the tourism recovery and activation plan developed in partnership with the region’s tourism industry. This includes visitor campaigns focussing on visiting friends and relatives, overnight and short stays and key initiatives such as the Good Food Grub Guide project development to enhance the region’s reputation as the food bowl, grow visitation and economic stimulus opportunities in COVID-19 recovery.
- Development of a COVID-19 Events Capacity Building Program to enable event organisers to implement and adapt to the COVID-19 environment i.e. Safety Officer training course and sessions on health, risk and marketing.
- Development of COVID-19 Virtual Events Program and Event Transition and Adaption Program to enable adaptation to the current environment to ensure Greater Shepparton’s reputation as a leading events destination continues and is well placed to capitalise on a new COVID-19 major events delivery and acquisition model.
- Continue to advocate to the State and Federal Governments on stimulus opportunities to allow local Councils to provide targeted infrastructure projects and support initiatives for residents and businesses.
- Partner with State and Federal Governments to identify the most efficient process for our community to access upcoming funding programs.
- Advocate to the State Government to extend and increase funding to the Victorian Planning Authority (VPA) so that important strategic work can be fast tracked to facilitate growth and investment.