Council will set a 12-month path to supporting Greater Geelong’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic on Tuesday 30 June, when it finalises its 2020-21 Budget and 2020-21 Community Grants program, and releases a third economic and community support package.
The proposed support package to be voted on by councillors includes $1.705 million in new or continued initiatives aimed at accelerating the region’s financial recovery from the pandemic in the medium- and long-term.
It has been designed to provide assistance to the region’s hardest hit sectors, including hospitality, tourism, and arts and culture, as well as international students, local businesses and the broader community.
If approved, the package will add to the $5.6 million in immediate relief measures Council announced in March and April.
The measures proposed in the latest package include:
- Continuation of the Small Business Expert Support Program: $100,000;
- Heritage, Arts and Culture recovery initiatives: $490,000;
- COVID-19 Quick Response Grants for community groups: $250,000;
- Tourism and Events campaigns: $500,000;
- Support for international students: $133,000;
- Targeted commercial rent relief for selected tenants of Council-owned buildings: approx. $232,000; and
- Continuation of the COVID-19 Financial Hardship Policy.
Councillors will also discuss a recommendation to extend the free 30-minute in 2P zones parking trial in central Geelong. It’s recommended this would replace the temporary free parking in all on-street spaces, which was part of the Council’s first COVID-19 support package released in March and is due to expire.
The proposed final 2020-21 Budget includes a $160.1 million record capital projects investment to drive COVID-19 recovery by creating local jobs and generating economic activity.
After considering 69 community submissions, it’s also recommended the Council adopt a final budget with funding added since the draft budget’s release for:
- Additional cost of gymnasium equipment core replacement program ($387,000);
- Traffic treatments on McKillop Street, East Geelong ($350,000);
- Barwon Soccer Club stage two development ($256,000);
- A facilities improvement plan for Landy Field athletics track ($30,000); and
- A feasibility study for development of a Seniors Activity Hub on the Bellarine Peninsula ($30,000).
Expenditure of $1.5 million for an intersection at Boundary Road and Baanip Boulevard, Mount Duneed is proposed to be deferred, while $256,000 for the stage two development of Burdoo Reserve, Grovedale is proposed to be removed.
And, having temporarily deferred the 2020-21 Community Grants program in April so it could be reviewed to best support the pandemic recovery, councillors will vote on a proposal to go ahead with an expanded program.
Watch the meeting live here from 7pm on Tuesday 30 June. The full agenda is available now here.
All recommendations in the agenda are subject to change and none are final until endorsed by the Council.
Mayor Stephanie Asher:
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a major financial and social effect on our community. Unfortunately, the case numbers we have seen in Victoria most recently indicate that it’s clearly not yet over.
From the outset, the Council has been determined to do all it can to guide support towards those hit hardest and to provide a positive and healthy future outlook. Tuesday night’s meeting will give us the opportunity to set the direction for our region’s recovery by supporting the initiatives that we think will make a meaningful impact over the next 6-12 months.
We appreciate that the business sector, arts and tourism industries and our community morale have all been particularly affected and our intention is to provide targeted support addressing those critical areas.
We look forward to discussing the recommendations in the agenda.