Council looks at immediate relief for struggling business and community groups

Ipswich City Council has begun a multi-phased relief program which will help groups who are suffering most under the impacts of COVID-19.

Interim administrator Steve Greenwood said there would be a number of initiatives to support those we know to be directly impacted by social distancing and crowd-reduction strategies.

“For some, income streams are drying up. In those cases, a number of fees and charges will be waived,” Mr Greenwood said.

“In addition, we’ll be increasing our loan limits at libraries. And we’ll be fast-tracking the launch of a portal which helps businesses understand where grant money is available to help their plans.”

Such measures would be the first step in an ongoing relief effort to support those facing incredibly challenging times.

“Like many local government authorities, we know that the local economy is struggling, and will continue to do so for some time,” Mr Greenwood said.

“It is our responsibility – in conjunction with the state and federal governments – to help maintain and ultimately grow the local economy, ensure jobs are safe, and now to support Ipswich small to medium enterprise through this period of unforeseen hardship.

“We are going into uncharted waters and we know it’s going to be tough. But we know it will end. We want to do what we can to help businesses and community groups be strong enough to rise again as this period of social distancing eventually begins to unwind.”

In the first phase of support, there will be particular focus on food and entertainment businesses, and sporting and community organisations.

For the quarter from March 1 until June 30, council will:

  • Waive footpath dining fees;
  • Waive or refund food licence fees;
  • Waive or refund temporary food stall/premises fees;
  • Waive or refund temporary event fees;
  • Waive or refund fees associated with the use of parks;
  • Waive or refund booking fees for community venues; and
  • Refund booking fees for all cancelled events on council property.

In addition, council will look to:

  • Inject money more quickly into the local economy, by seeking to pay for goods and services within seven days instead of the current 30 day terms;
  • Launch a new internet portal which will explain all the grants available to businesses and community organisations;
  • Increase Ipswich Libraries’ borrowing limits to 50 items, and borrowing time to eight weeks; and
  • Send our Active and Healthy program digital, offering yoga and bootcamp sessions online.

Mr Greenwood said more announcements would be made soon.

Also read:

>> Ipswich Libraries expands borrowing limits in response to COVID-19

>> Ipswich blood donors needed amid coronavirus concerns

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  1. How about looking at the rates we are all paying…. they are way to much anyway.
    Or look at putting money into the foot paths and roads / curb and chanial in the older suburbs, like in Bandamba & Blackstone.
    Going back to having the grass cut in public areas more than once every 3 months if we are lucky. It was once done every month and rates were less then too.
    Help the people that pay the rates in Ipswich.

  2. I live in Collingwood Park and I have lived in Bellbird Park as well over the last 6 to 8 mths I have seen a large number of homes, rentals, parklands and footpath areas become overgrown by long grass, why doesn’t the local council employ several keen people whom have lost their jobs because of corona virus and give them a purpose to work and remain sane by giving them hope and opportunity for themselves and family, People want to work, and if people can help the local suburbs by improving the standards and values of ipswich by making us look strong and keep pride in our region, then give some fellas a job to mow, edge , clean up car parks, repaint old toilet blocks at parks, maintain dog parks etc. If we let the community pitch in together and let people work for a living where we can, we will survive the recession.

  3. I would like to see local government create a whole range of jobs to fill in the most worrying and frightening gaps in the whole Corona Virus Saga.

    1 Positions created to specifically address the needs of people who must self isolate. Shoppers. A number of dedicated vehicles available to facilitatethese positions .

    2. Positions to contact and and check up on our elderly who are too frightened to leave thier homes. Some of our elderly will fade away before daring to venture outside. There needs to be a welfare check department initiated to deal with the impact of depression or phobia that in itself lead to harm.
    Debra Sanderson

  4. Please look after the rates bills it’s high we can’t afford at this time for all the business.
    Thank you.

  5. Please stop the rates at least for one quarter. I am trying to stay open but operating at a loss just to support the last few of my staff who are vunerable as they can’t access any form of government help. And the carparking!!!! Can you make it 1 or 2 hours for free and do this for good. If and when we get back on our feet could you at least have a 15 min free option on the parking so customers can at least drop into a small business to pick up a gift voucher or quick purchase without the fear of a hefty fine or having to pay for 30 mins minimum.

  6. I have an accommodation business where income has totally collapsed. Rate relief would be a very good way of support, particularly relief from the iniquitous pedestal tax. There are no bodies to use the pedestals! Likewise, swimming pool licences, restaurant licences, trade waste licences should all be refunded as there is a nearly 100% reduction in business. For all the businesses in town that rely on travellers, this is a particularly troublesome time because there are so few at the moment, with little hope of improvement in the near future. Just to survive will be very difficult.

  7. I have a boarding kennel we got hit for Christmas our busiest time with the bush fires followed by the floods Easter is our 2nd busiest period normally and business has dried up. So rate relief and maybe waiver of the kennel fees next year would be helpful .

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