Kingston Council and industry leaders join forces to support local businesses during COVID-19 crisis

Kingston Council and industry leaders join forces to support local businesses during COVID-19 crisis

Local industry leaders will join forces with Kingston Council on a new taskforce to support local businesses during the COVID-19 crisis.

The Economic Recovery and Response Taskforce is part of an additional support package for businesses announced by Kingston Council that comes on top of earlier rate relief.

Kingston Mayor Georgina Oxley said Council was keen to work in partnership with industry leaders and sector specialists to gain expert advice on how best to support local businesses through the crisis.

“We know local government can play a key role in supporting local businesses and want to work closely with industry leaders to make sure support is given when and where it is most needed,” Cr Oxley said.

Kingston Council will focus on supporting local employment, industry and businesses through:

Keep building new community facilities to stimulate the local construction industry

Council will continue to invest in capital works projects to upgrade community facilities and seek funding support from the Victorian Government to partner in local projects. Council’s draft Budget features $65.9m in capital works projects.

Kingston Council will also hold training sessions for local businesses to help them successfully apply for local government tenders for works projects and continue to hold ‘Meet the Builder’ Sessions to promote available jobs on Council projects.

Help local businesses access state and federal support programs

Kingston Council’s Business Wizardry service, which helps businesses gain any required Council approvals, will be expanded to also assist businesses to apply for grants and support programs offered by the Victorian and Australian governments.

Grant fee waivers, reductions or permit extensions to stimulate local construction

Kingston will offer a range of fee exemptions, extensions and reductions including a 12-month extension free of charge for Asset Protection Permits, a reduction in Planning Permit costs from $565 to $200 and granting a 12-month extension free of charge for some building permits.

Explore opportunities for food-based businesses to use Council’s commercial kitchens

Local small food start-up businesses unable to find suitable, affordable commercial kitchens for rent may be offered use of Council’s commercial kitchens to support the local food industry.

Provide financial relief Council’s draft budget will extend the $112.20 Pensioner Rebate to businesses that are registered for the Federal Government JobKeeper payment scheme for the 2020/21 year and to ratepayers who are on the JobSeeker allowance.

The latest boost to support local businesses was approved at Council’s May Council meeting. It adds to an earlier economic support package announced in March that provided:

For businesses:

  • Rates deferred until 30 June 2021 for businesses that apply under Council’s Hardship Policy
  • No interest on overdue rates until after 30 June 2021
  • Refund of health and Food business registrations and footpath trading fees

For residents:

  • Rates deferred until 30 June 2021 for those who apply under Council’s Hardship Policy
  • No interest on overdue rates until after 30 June 2021
  • Animal registration fee due date extended to 30 June 2020

For sporting and community clubs:

  • No facility rents for 12 months
  • No winter season sports fees

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