$15 million emergency package approved for Moreton Bay
Published 25 March 2020
Today’s Special Meeting of the Moreton Bay Regional Council approved a $15 million stimulus package to assist residents, community groups, community clubs and businesses experiencing financial distress.
Acting Mayor Mike Charlton thanked the Councillors for acting with the urgency that the coronavirus pandemic commands of political leaders.
“This $15 million suite of initiatives will take immediate effect with targeted assistance to help individuals and industries worst hit by COVID-19,” he said.
“It delivers specific relief actions for at-risk groups including ratepayers in financial distress, struggling community groups and clubs, and of course those food businesses that have been forced to shut or fundamentally change their operations.
“We don’t have the multi-billion dollar budgets of the Federal or State Governments, but we know we need to do our bit.
“This is just the start. As coronavirus continues to impact our Region, Council will need to continue to look at what we can do to support our community.”
The emergency interim package includes:
- $7 million worth of rate relief to recipients of the Federal Government’s Coronavirus Supplement
- $5 million for grants to community groups and clubs
- $2 million in accelerated asset maintenance works to keep people employed on local projects
- $1 million refund on food licensing fees for businesses, many now entirely relying on takeaway sales
Councillor Charlton said while these interim measures weren’t a complete solution, it was essential for Council to immediately do something to help.
“We understand the role MBRC needs to play, particularly in supporting small and local businesses as well as individual residents and ratepayers in financial hardship,” he said.
“For those ratepayers receiving the Federal Government’s coronavirus supplement, you will get a total $200 rebate on your rates.
“To help keep local tradies on the tools, we’re immediately bringing forward $2 million worth of works to help stimulate our local economy.
“For food businesses who’ve had to close or can only sell takeaway, we will be refunding your licensing fees worth about $1 million.
“To help community groups and clubs, we’ve approved a $5 million grants fund to ease financial pressures.
“Through all of these initiatives, Council will give preference to projects that use local procurement and local suppliers.
“So if you’re a local business and you’re not registered with our supplier marketplace. Get online right now at MBRC's Supplier Portal and get set up.
“If you need assistance doing that, contact our friendly staff who can help.”
At the outset of today’s Special Meeting, Councillor Charlton acknowledged concerns raised by locals about crowds gathering for Saturday’s election.
“Frankly, I share those concerns,” he said.
“Earlier this month I wrote to both the state government and the Electoral Commission of Queensland encouraging them to extend postal voting.
“But that is something Council has absolutely no control over.”
MBRC CEO Greg Chemello said Council had restructured its operations to ensure Council could maintain essential services while maintaining social distancing for staff.
“Council staff responsible for essential services are now either working from home or in separate physical environments to ensure their continued health and availability,” he said.
“Council’s call centre is now being delivered across four separate locations to ensure the virus can’t impact the entire team at once.
“Our internal Business Continuity Planning team are meeting every Monday, Wednesday and Friday to ensure that council operations, services and staff are managed as best we can during these challenging and evolving times.”