City of Victor Harbor throws support lifeline to businesses in Victor Harbor

PARTNERSHIP: Business Victor Harbor chair Michael Schubert and City of Victor Harbor Mayor Moira Jenkins.
PARTNERSHIP: Business Victor Harbor chair Michael Schubert and City of Victor Harbor Mayor Moira Jenkins.

The City of Victor Harbor passed a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) with Business Victor Harbor at its April council meeting.

The MOU is intended to provide a framework around the working relationship between the council and Business Victor Harbor.

At a Special Council meeting on Monday, May 18, the council took the support to a new and unique level.

The City of Victor Harbor has thrown its support behind local business by adopting a number of new support measures, which brings the council's total COVID-19 support package to $629,000.

The council has also flagged that it is looking at additional measures which will be considered later this month.

At the Special Council meeting, City of Victor Harbor adopted council rate relief measures, a business support grants program worth $250,000, funding for Business Victor Harbor to provide targeted local business support valued at $120,000 over two financial years and $24,000 to support a proposal for Business SA to provide business advisory services.

Business SA CEO Martin Haese said the agreement was groundbreaking.

"This ground-breaking agreement between Business SA, South Australia's peak independent Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Business Victor Harbor as the regional Chamber of Commerce and the City of Victor Harbor Council will ensure that services are best tailored to support the local business community on the ground at Victor Harbor," Mr Haese said.

"The new normal post-COVID-19 requires greater collaboration than ever before if we are to re-boot the state's economy and protect jobs.

"Small businesses are critical to our regions, both socially and economically. This is about local support for local businesses to save local jobs.

"Business SA commends the City of Victor Harbor Council for paving the way for this historic partnership."

City of Victor Harbor Mayor Moira Jenkins said the COVID-19 pandemic placed significant pressure on the local business community, particularly those in tourism, food and hospitality and direct service sectors.

"The situation we are in is something we have never experienced and the council has thought outside the square in order to provide meaningful support for its business community," Dr Jenkins said.

Council acknowledged that the State and Federal Governments were quick to implement a range of support measures to stimulate the economy, keep people in jobs and assist with essential business costs.

However, it identified that the criteria of the larger support programs does not extend to smaller or micro-businesses and designed its own support package around this gap.

Business Victor Harbor chair Michael Schubert said it was an exciting time for Business Victor Harbor, as it proposes a pathway out of the restrictive trading laws.

"We thank the council, who have acted quickly in administering the grants. The council's support at the special meeting is very much appreciated by the business community," Mr Schubert said.

"We are here for small business in Victor Harbor and looking forward to the joint relationships with the City of Victor Harbor and Business SA to give the much needed economic boost post COVID-19.

"We welcome the $250,000 COVID-19 Business Support Program which will provide much needed assistance to sole traders in particular, who do not receive state and federal funding."

Dr Jenkins said council have been focused on preparing a support package that is tailored to the needs of the community.

"In preparing this second phase of support options, the council used feedback gathered through a joint survey issued by Business Victor Harbor in which businesses were clear that financial support was needed now. We listened, and have initiated a business grants program that will be launched later this week."

The council's COVID-19 Business Support Grants comprises three streams: Business Adaptation - to support initiatives that directly assist businesses adjust their business or service delivery, Business Cashflow - for businesses who are unable to defer, waive or negotiate payment terms for critical business related expenses, Business Planning - to help businesses access professional advice that will assist navigate through and recover from current challenges.

City of Victor Harbor businesses will be able to apply for funds across more than one stream up to a maximum value of $5000.

The council noted that further support will be required beyond the grant program and fee waivers. It will also allocate $20,000 in 2019/20 and $100,000 within the 2020/21 budget to support Business Victor Harbor to assist the association enhance its role and become a strong chamber of commerce for the local business community.

"The council wants to support Business Victor Harbor to increase its ability to assist our local business community navigate through this challenging time and come out the other end stronger than before," Dr Jenkins said.

The Mayor also acknowledged that the impact of COVID-19 and the support required is ever-changing.

"Our focus from the outset of this emergency has been to be in a position where we can adjust quickly to the needs of our community. We will continue this approach as we closely monitor the situation."

The council will consider further measures at the end of the month including grants for sporting and community groups, discounts on business related fees and charges and additional waivers for costs related to recovery.

Visit www.victor.sa.gov.au for more information on the council's business support package and broader COVID-19 response.

Summary of City of Victor Harbor COVID-19 Relief Measures:

Buy Local campaign and launch of Buy Local App

Refund of Outdoor Dining fees from March 1 to August 31

Fee waiver for small business leases and licences held with Council from March 1 to June 30

Deferral of Community loan repayments for 12 months from March 1

Bulk waiver of fines and interest on overdue rates from March 1 to September 30

Targeted COVID-19 rates remission allocation of $100,000

Payment arrangements with waiver of fines and interest to June 30

Due date extensions with waiver of fines and interest to June 30

Hold on external debt collection and court action for existing accounts to December 31

Hold on external debt collection and court action for new accounts to June 30, 2021

Increase in procurement weighting for local content from 10 per cent to 20 per cent

$250,000 in business support grants ($225,000 in 19/20 and $25,000 in 20/21)

Business Victor Harbor $20,000 in 19/20 and $100,000 in 20/21 to support local businesses and put a local business liaison person on the ground

$24,000 for business advisory services to be delivered by Business SA

Measures still to be considered:

$10,000 community and sporting group grants (May Council Meeting)

50 per cent discount for business related fees and charges in 20/21 (May Council Meeting)

Waiver options for activation / recovery fees and charges in 20/21 (May Council Meeting)

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