Council extends COVID support for businesses and community groups

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Hundreds of businesses and community groups in the Mildura Rural City Council area have one less thing to worry about as they adapt to prolonged COVIDSafe operations.

Council will provide approximately $471,000 in fee and rate relief as part of its COVID Relief Response Fund, which was endorsed by Councillors at last week’s September Ordinary Meeting.

Mayor Jason Modica said this package acknowledges the pandemic’s ongoing impact on local businesses and the many community groups, clubs and organisations that underpin our region’s social fabric.

“We know the business community has been hit particularly hard and continues to adapt and adjust as restrictions and requirements change,” Cr Modica said.

“This is a way we can thank local businesses for their resilience and help ease the financial burden many are facing.”

Around 785 local food, hospitality, accommodation, beauty, hairdressing and tattoo operators will not be charged to renew their registrations and permits for 2021-22.

Fees for 2022-23 Footpath Trading Permits – which cover the display of goods, A-frames and tables and chairs – will be waived too. The 2021-22 renewals for these permits have already been distributed so Council resolved to waive them for the following Financial Year.

“These business operators are members of our community and many provide employment to others, sponsor local clubs and community groups and help make our towns vibrant places to live and visit,” Cr Modica said.

Council will also waive 2021-22 rates and waste management charges for community, cultural and sporting groups and non-rateable properties used for community purposes. This will provide direct benefit to around 116 local groups.

“Many community events and sports competitions have been forced in to hibernation due to lockdowns. This has taken a huge financial toll on these groups – which are mostly volunteer-run,” Cr Modica said.

“We want to see them back up and operating again, providing important opportunities for people to connect, create, compete and exercise together.”

Ratepayers and businesses who are eligible for fee and rate waivers do not need to do anything. Council will write to recipients and also issue revised rate notices as needed.

This latest funding builds on Council’s support for local businesses, community groups and households in response to the pandemic, including $2.2 million in direct grants, fee and rate waivers.

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