Stage one of Coronavirus business support measures announced

Published: 27 Mar 2020

Mackay Regional Council has detailed stage one of business support measures to help  assist those impacted by the escalating Coronavirus crisis.

The business support response includes waiving a raft of fees for 2020-2021 and a focus on local spend and job creation measures immediately and during the recovery.

The due date for the next lot of rates in September will also be extended by three months.

Discussions will be held with the new council, once elected, about other measures, including possible further rates relief.

CEO Craig Doyle said the measures, estimated to be worth several million dollars, were stage one of council’s Mackay COVID-19 Business Support Response plan.

“In what is an everchanging environment, the measures outlined are likely to change and be expanded as we understand more of the COVID-19 impact on our region,’’ he said.

“However, we believe these measures are a good and financially sensible starting point.”

Mr Doyle said initiatives relating to the 2020-2021 financial year budget would need to be endorsed by the new council, which was expected to occur in late April.

“Further discussions will occur with the newly elected local government regarding what other staged support could be considered and implemented, including possible further rates relief and other initiatives,’’ he said.

Stage one measures include:

Direct financial impact

  • Waive footpath dining and trading fees, food and itinerant and static vendor charges and licence fees for accommodation, swimming and relevant businesses impacted for the 2020-2021 financial year.
  • Refund all fees or charges for events cancelled due to COVID-19.
  • Set trade waste licence fees to $0 for businesses impacted as a result of the virus for the 2020-2021 financial year.
  • Set to $0 the backflow licence fee for business impacted by the virus for the 2020-2021
    financial year
  • 50 per cent reduction in developer application fees for a six-month period between April and September 2020.
  • Extend the period of due date payment (deferral) of rates that are due in September 2020 by three months for all ratepayers.
  • Payment terms for creditors will be paid in less than 30 days if invoice approval is
  • Free parking from April to June 30, 2020, in the City Centre’s main carparks. Compliance checks with timed parking areas will continue.
  • Reduce losses that may be incurred by operators of council facilities, such as aquatic
    facilities, because of closures of these facilities.
  • Waive park booking fees for the period April 1 to June 30, 2020. At present park bookings are only available for boot camps or fitness classes of less than 10 with social distancing measures in place.

Other focus areas

  • Review council’s procurement policy to promote more local spend for when the region starts to recover from the virus impacts.
  • Council has started reviewing and will bring forward maintenance and capital projects and initiatives from 2020-2021 to the next three months to increase local employment and
    contract opportunities.
  • A review of council’s 2020-2021 budget initiatives and projects has started to focus heavily on job creation and increased local employment contract opportunities.
  • Council staff and services will be used in coming months to assist not-for-profit service providers most affected by the pandemic.