A further $2 million will be invested in services and programs to spearhead local community and economic recovery and boost support for those most impacted by COVID-19.
Knox City Council Mayor, Nicole Seymour said the new package will accelerate recovery of the local economy and facilitate community confidence and resilience while addressing the hardship, instability and isolation impacting the Knox community as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As the pandemic situation has evolved we have seen the emergence of a ‘new vulnerable’ in our community; individuals and families facing social and economic hardship, some for the first time,” said Cr Seymour.
“Similarly, many of our local businesses have lost customers, revenue and employees as a result of having to substantially change their operations or close altogether.”
“This latest package complements state and federal business support programs by providing extra support for our business community to recover, which will have positive social outcomes for our community.”
“It targets help for those most in need, by increasing community health and wellbeing services and providing additional funding to empower local service providers.”
“It also emphasises the important role our community organisations play in building connectedness and resilience, which will be crucial as our community bounces back from this pandemic,” Cr Seymour said.
Highlights of the Stage 2 Community and Business Support Package include:
- $380,000 funding to support services for vulnerable community members and those experiencing homelessness, including increasing access to hot meals and shower and laundry facilities
- A $200,000 fund to enable local service organisations to increase services for the most vulnerable
- $1,000 one off ‘kick start’ contribution to not-for-profit groups and clubs leasing Council facilities to help with operating costs such as utilities as they recommence operations
- $200,000 to deliver Mental Health First Aid training via local sporting clubs
- $465,000 in business support programs including grants, training and development, and mentoring programs
- Increased funding for both the Minor Grants Program and Community Development Fund to support community led recovery initiatives
In addition to the new measures, several Stage 1 initiatives have been extended until 30 September 2020, including waiving interest on late rates and charges payments; trading fees for businesses; and lease, license and hire fees for not-for-profit community organisations using Council-owned facilities.
Approximately 80 local community and business organisations provided feedback in the development of the support package, identifying key areas of concern and emerging social needs across the municipality, including homelessness, mental health services and counselling, family violence, financial hardship, social isolation and more.
Council’s proposed 2020-21 Budget includes $3 million funding for dedicated initiatives in response to COVID-19, including this support package. It is expected that Stage 3 initiatives will be considered by Council at a later date, in response to evolving community needs.