The City will roll out a program of initiatives aiming to address a number of social issues stemming from the COVID-19 crisis, including social isolation, mental health and resilience, and financial distress.
Last night, Council approved a budget reallocation to make these initiatives possible, which include community care grants and check-ins for vulnerable community members, as well as investigating several initiatives such as a series of events to be held in alternative formats, support for culturally and linguistically diverse residents, and more.
More information will be provided on individual initiatives as they are rolled out.
Council also endorsed the COVID-19 Financial Hardship Policy, which gives ratepayers the ability to apply for hardship consideration on payment of their property rates and charges.
It applies to outstanding rates and service charges at the date of policy adoption, as well as rates and service charges levied for the 2020/2021 financial year.
Mayor Penny Taylor said it was vital to support our community during this challenging time.
“We know that our community is hurting in a number of different ways, and the City has worked hard to come up with a diverse program of initiatives that will help alleviate some of these stressors and help create a sense of belonging during a time of isolation,” she said.
“Our community is strong and will come through this together.”
This week, Council also endorsed a Business Capacity Building Program designed to help local small businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic and during the recovery phase.
The programs will provide eligible businesses with an experienced mentor, coach or business advisor who will work with the owner on practical strategies and actions to help them become more adaptive, responsive and efficient.
This is in addition to the City’s $4 million relief package that was announced on Friday 3 April to help support the community during these unprecedented times.