Eurobodalla’s cafes, retailers and accommodation businesses stand to benefit from a $250,000 bushfire recovery boost approved at this week’s council meeting.
Fees for outdoor dining licenses, food premise inspections, pool inspections and event licenses will be waived for six months, keeping money in the pockets of small business owners.
The funding was provided jointly by the NSW and Australian governments to all bushfire-impacted councils for community and economic recovery.
The Eurobodalla Councillors recognise that small businesses affected by the loss in tourism trade over December and January are struggling and this funding was targeting them.
Note above that the figure for waiving Council event charges was reduced by $4000 at the meeting
During the Council meeting, ably chaired by Deputy Mayor Rob Pollock the councillors voted to accord tangible and targeted assistance that will directly benefit local businesses who would normally pay these fees saying "While the amounts aren’t huge, it is money that can now stay in the pockets of those business owners" and echoing "When small business hurts, the whole community hurts, As we keep hearing, it’s these businesses that seem unable to get government assistance or they give up because the process is just too difficult."
It was agreed by the councillors at the Tuesday meeting that the waiving of some regulatory fees to local businesses would cost Council so the government funding will allow Council to absorb the costs for six months and give our businesses some respite saying these were a true cost savings and a practical way of giving money back to business owners that requires no effort from them.
A further $20,000 will be used to support the whole community with free internet at the shire’s three libraries for twelve months, while each of the five business chambers will receive $5,000 to fund an event or program to benefit the business community.
The Mayor, Clr Innes, said in a media release issued at 3:30pm on Friday the 13th that the measures form part of Council’s evolving business recovery plan, and there’s more to come.
“Bringing visitors back to Eurobodalla and targeting new visitors for Easter and winter is a key focus right now, and next month we go live with a new campaign to invite friends and relatives to visit Eurobodalla under our All Kinds of Natural brand.
“Support for events, product development and business development are another focus and we’re looking at the best ways to maximise the government funding on offer to supplement our own budget.
In light of the Prime Minister's announcement that same afternoon that the Australian Health Protection Principals Committee advised that "non-essential, organised" gatherings should not go ahead it will be of interest to see if Council might determine actions contrary to the Mayor's statement "Bringing visitors back to Eurobodalla and targeting new visitors for Easter and winter is a key focus right now" in light of the escalation of community transmission of COVID-19 in Australia.
Councillor Mayne noted during the council meeting in regards to the expected council budget blowout that will be an inevitable consequence of a variety of impacts including Coronavirus "We are living in a perilous economic time."