Bass Coast Shire Council received an annual update on the delivery of the Economic Development Strategy 2016-2021 and the Phillip Island and San Remo Visitor Economy Strategy 2035 – Growing Tourism at the August Council Meeting last Wednesday.
The update showed that Council has made important progress, delivering on actions of the strategies, while also responding to the challenges presented by the bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The activities in each Strategy aim to create an environment that supports existing businesses to be innovative and sustainable and to attract and encourage the kind of business activities that will drive the local economy and tourism.
The strategies also support existing businesses to evolve and develop new markets and products – which is vital after the effects the pandemic has had on local tourism and our economy.
Bass Coast Mayor, Cr Brett Tessari said it’s been an extraordinary year of highs and lows for Bass Coast.
“We’ve had continued strong residential and business growth and record low unemployment for the first half of the financial year, followed by bushfires and COVID-19 which have brought unforeseen economic impacts,” Cr Tessari said.
Council was quick to respond to these challenges by implementing a range of measures including the COVID-19 Business and Community Response and Recovery program.
“While there were plenty of Federal and State Government support measures available, Council was well-placed to support and facilitate additional measures, specifically to support our local businesses and the community,” Cr Tessari said.
“We were able to move quickly to free up nearly $1 million for our Response and Recovery program, which included $700,000 for the Business and Community Resilience Grants program.”
In addition, to supporting the community through COVID-19, some of Council’s other key achievements included securing funding for both the Bass Coast University Centre and Erosion Mitigation; the $1.4 million upgrade to the Cowes Jetty; successfully hosting the 2019 Bass Coast Business Awards and Gala Awards Ceremony with 198 of our local businesses; and the launch of the Tourism Ambassadors Training Program in collaboration with Destination Phillip Island.
Another significant highlight was the collaboration between the State Government and other Gippsland councils to develop the Invest Gippsland website. “It certainly hasn’t been ‘business as usual’ at Council over the past twelve months,” Cr Tessari said.
“We’ve had to be increasingly agile and resilient to respond to the challenges presented to us by this pandemic. I’m proud of the work we’ve achieved in supporting our community through this period, and of our ability to pivot some of our existing plans and strategies to tackle this new challenging environment.”
“Council will continue to do its best to advocate for and fast-track infrastructure and other projects to provide economic stimulus into our region so we still come out strong on the other side,” Cr Tessari concluded.
A full list of the achievements delivered by Council for 2019/2020 is available from www.basscoast.vic.gov.au/about-council/council-meetings.