Cairns Mayor Bob Manning today (20 March 2020) announced a series of measures to assist businesses and generate employment in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
- Pump $2.5 million into the Cairns community in the next three months by bringing forward maintenance works
- Reduce rent for businesses leasing Council facilities
- Provide a three-month extension on a range of business-related fees and charges
- Waive all outdoor dining fees for three months (April to June)
- Extend the due date on a raft of business fees
- Extend the due date for water usage (for businesses and residents) for three months
Cr Manning said Council had moved quickly to do what it could to support the community in this challenging time.
“There’s no doubt that businesses in Cairns are doing it tough right now. And that has a trickle down impact on everyone in our community,” he said.
“These initiatives will immediately put more money into our economy and generate employment. We need to keep businesses open and people in work if we are to weather this unprecedented global event.
“I urge everyone in Cairns not to panic. We need to go about our day-to-day lives as much as possible while heeding advice on social distancing and personal hygiene.
“But this is not the time to stop spending. We need to buy local to keep money circulating in our community.”
As the situation evolves, Council will have further discussions on how to deliver other forms of assistance to businesses and residents. This has to be balanced against the ongoing costs of providing essential services.
Businesses and residents with financial difficulties are advised to contact Council to discuss their specific situation.
Measures announced today:
$2.5 MILLION OUTDOOR MAINTENANCE STIMULUS PACKAGE
Council will bring forward $2.5 million in maintenance works planned for the 2020/21 financial year.
Works such as tree maintenance, kerb and channel repairs, pressure cleaning of footpaths, maintenance of barbecues and other infrastructure in parks, will be completed by contractors and agency staff, generating employment.
Works will be completed between April and June.
Commercial businesses operating from Council premises, such as the School of Arts building, the Cairns Esplanade, Cairns Botanic Gardens and swimming pools, will have a 50% reduction in rent for March through to the end of the financial year.
FEES AND CHARGES
All outdoor dining fees will be waived from April through to the end of the financial year.
Other business fees, such as water and trade waste usage, will be deferred for 3 months from the date of issue. All new invoices will be issued with the extended due date. For existing invoices, businesses should add three months to the payment deadline.
Residents and businesses will have an additional three months to pay their current water bills. All new water bills will be issued with the extended due date.
The latest measures follow an initial suite of support initiatives approved by Council in February, which included:
- Extension of payment deadlines for rates to 27 May 2020
- Acceleration of Council funding for the tourism and international education sectors
- Dedicated funding towards the ‘Keep it in Cairns’ buy local campaign being coordinated by the Cairns Chamber of Commerce