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Immediate relief on its way

Council will immediately put a range of relief measures in place as an initial response to lessen the impacts of COVID-19 on the community and local business.

Mayor Nicole Seymour said this is the first of what is likely to be several packages of relief to respond to the short, medium and long term effects of the situation as it unfolds.

“In the first instance we’ve targeted relief at a grass roots level to provide support where there is none yet being offered by state or federal governments,” said Cr Seymour.

The initial package includes:

  • Interest will not be charged for late payments on rates and charges from 31 March 2020 to 30 June 2020.
  • Refunds will be issued to businesses on permits for outdoor dining and A-frame signage for the period 31 March 2020 to 30 June 2020, and fees for new applications will be waived.
  • Fees will be waived for all not-for-profit community organisations that hire or lease council facilities for the remainder of the financial year.
  • The annual fee payable by Knox Basketball Incorporated towards the renewal of stadium facilities will be waived for the remainder of the financial year.

The possible extension of these arrangements beyond 30 June 2020 will form part of Council’s 2020-21 budget deliberations. In addition, Council undertook to immediately review its hardship policy for the payment of rates and develop a Community Relief Plan to compliment state and federal government support measures.

Mayor Nicole Seymour said COVID-19 is an unprecedented crisis, presenting Council with a complex and unpredictable challenge.

“The impact of COVID-19 on the Knox community is significant for our health, wellbeing and economy,” she said.

“Knox has a diverse range of industries, with many businesses immediately vulnerable to the impact of COVID-19. In the long term, no doubt even more will be affected.

“Our community clubs and organisations also face an uncertain future as they typically do not have the cash reserves to sustain them over an extended period of decreased or non-existent revenue.

“Council has an important role to play in managing and responding to COVID-19, including supporting community health and wellbeing, delivering emergency response both on its own and in conjunction with state and federal emergency management plans, implementing stimulus projects and driving community recovery.

“We have prioritised the ongoing delivery of essential services to support our vulnerable and elderly residents, and have been progressively implementing measures to protect the health, wellbeing and safety of our community and staff.

“These times are unlike anything we have ever had to deal with before. The restrictions are vital to maintain public health, but the changes to the way we live and work are testing our resolve and resilience.

“I want to thank everyone for supporting our local businesses and checking in on each other where we can. Together we will get through these extraordinary times and be all the stronger for it,” Cr Seymour said.

Issued: Tuesday 31 March 2020

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