Sunshine Coast Council will assist local business with commercial fees and charges relief as part of an economic stimulation package to help businesses survive the impacts of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Sunshine Coast Council Mayor and Chair of the Local Disaster Management Group Mark Jamieson said this was just one of a range of measures which would provide support across our community.
"What is important at this point in time is that we come together as a community, support each other, look out for each other, show kindness and consideration," Mayor Jamieson said.
"Now more than ever, we must think locally in every decision we make.
"Following approval from council at today's (March 19) Ordinary Meeting, the Chief Executive Officer is now authorised to exercise discretion to review and, if required, waive, commercial and cost recovery fees during the National declared emergency.
"This will give council officers greater agility to assist businesses following the recently introduced significant public health measures* put in place by the Federal and State Government to manage the spread of COVID-19," Mayor Jamieson said.
"The COVID-19 pandemic is having, and will continue to have, a major impact on our community and on our local businesses.
"Given the rapidly changing environment and the impacts we are seeing at a local level, council wants to ensure it can respond quickly and appropriately to requests from the community and businesses and ensure any local stimulus measures complement the Federal and State Government programs announced in recent weeks and help to keep local residents employed.
"Council staff have been tasked with urgently exploring every opportunity to assist our community and local businesses and this includes tailored business support solutions which are currently being developed.
"Council will consult with businesses asking, for example, if they need a review, reimbursement or waiver of fees and charges on footpath and outdoor dining and trading, food licensing fees, community and major events and filming applications and refunds on venue hire bookings, among others.
"Officers are also exploring how best to keep the construction industry moving and ensure that jobs and money flowing through the economy continues.
"Short term accommodation property owners wishing to change their offering to long term accommodation will be able to seek a review of their general rates category.
"At the end of the day, our council and our community want to see our local businesses continue operating, continue employing staff and managing though these challenging times.
"In addition to council assisting with local fees and charges it will also, where possible, add extra staff to key processes to accelerate approvals," he said.
"It is important to note that we will not compromise on any health and safety certification or approval processes but we will endeavour to get these done as quickly as possible to keep businesses and projects going."
Yesterday (March 18), Mayor Jamieson announced the council was expediting payments to its 7200 active suppliers where possible, and subject to resourcing.
"Our finance team will do everything it can to expedite the processing of payments and will target paying the invoices within seven days, provided all of the information has been provided, and the goods have been received or the services delivered within contractual arrangements," Mayor Jamieson said.
"Council pays suppliers, on average, $30 million per month, and half of our invoices are paid within seven days.
"Speeding up payments to our suppliers will inject $15 million into the local economy sooner, assisting with the cash flow, general business liquidity and the ability to keep people employed."
Businesses are encouraged to visit council's website for more information on council, Federal and State government assistance available during COVID-19.