The Launceston City Council has become the first Tasmanian council to put forward a community care and recovery package to address the impacts of coronavirus.
Council will develop the package with nearby councils and the Northern Tasmania Development Corporation to soften the blow of the pandemic on communities and businesses.
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- Provision for rates relief for businesses impacted
- The development of a rates hardship policy
- Early payment of creditors by councils and negotiable terms of payment for debtors
- Fees and charges relief for businesses, community groups, sporting clubs
- A one-off grant to support business innovation with a focus on the development of online services
- Support for vulnerable members of the community
- Negotiated rent relief for the use of council facilities
- Support for cancelled events to retain grand funding and re-planning of events
- A framework to strengthen the resilience of the community
- Support for sporting and cultural groups to develop alternative approaches to their activities
Mayor Albert van Zetten said the council could make a difference by easing the financial pressure and supporting the community.
"In addition to the health repercussions associated with the virus, there are already impacts being felt by small businesses, which will have flow-on effects to employment," he said.
"This is only going to work if we all work together, we all have to do our bit.
"I want to encourage other property owners who have significant land holdings in our city, who I believe have the capacity ... to reduce rents on their buildings as well."
Councillor van Zetten said he was very conscious of what social distancing would do to the community and he wanted to make sure they supported vulnerable people.
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Councillor Rob Soward said many would have disregarded the role of sport and arts in the community but Cr van Zetten's proposed package did not.
"Without those there's a void, there's a gap in the community," he said.
"Something as simple as the sporting group that runs the little tuck shop and sells the sausages and the drinks to help pay the bills, that's not going on at the moment.
"They can't find that money to pay ... fees and charges, so we're looking at doing something about that."
The package will be developed and brought back to a future meeting for approval.