Council waives fees and cuts rent in support of local businesses

Local businesses will be spared some operating costs as part of Mildura Rural City Council’s latest round of financial relief for those hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Council will waive fees for outdoor dining, a-frame and footpath display permits for the last four months of the 19/20 Financial Year in a show of support for the local retail and hospitality sector. 204 businesses will be supported, and Council will contact them directly to outline how a credit will be applied.

Lease fees for many commercial tenants renting Council property or facilities will also be discounted for the final quarter of this year.

Similarly, community and sporting groups leasing Council facilities are encouraged to contact Council to discuss how COVID-19 has impacted them so that arrangements can be made to support them also.

Tourism and Economic Development Portfolio Councillor Mark Eckel said this was something Council could do now to give some relief to restaurants, retailers and cafes.

“Local small businesses should be incredibly proud of how they’ve adapted in the wake of this pandemic. We’ve seen operators pivot from bricks and mortar to online settings in a matter of days. We’ve seen restaurants and cafes redeploy their wait staff to offer home delivery services. And importantly, the wider community has supported this.”

Despite their innovations, Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures released last week show more than two thirds of businesses across the country anticipate adverse impacts due to COVID-19.

“Council knows these have been incredibly challenging times and we know businesses have less capacity now to cover their costs. That’s why we’ve taken the step to waive or reduce some of our fees.”

On top of these new measures, Council is continuing to offer individualised support for businesses and people experiencing financial hardship. Flexible options are available for rate payment plans, including the ability to defer rate payments until 30 June 2020 if necessary.

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