Mr Corin McCarthy
I would first like to pay my regards to Councillor Stephen Fisher and his family. He has been a first class Councillor for 29 years and I congratulate him on so many years of excellent service. Unfortunately, he will not return to the Chamber, but so many Councillors have enjoyed his company, anecdotes and historical understanding of the ins-and-outs of Mitcham.
Stephen especially loved Colonel Light Gardens and delighted in his knowledge of the modern garden suburb style of architecture and planning. He brought that passion to his work at Mitcham Council.
Secondly, I want to bring you up to speed with how Mitcham Council has been responding to the economic circumstances arising from COVID-19.
On 5 May, I moved, and Mitcham Council passed that Quarter 4 rates on businesses forced to shut by State Government or Commonwealth decisions, would receive a 100 per cent waiver from paying rates. Also, if a business has suffered to the point of needing ‘JobKeeper’, but is otherwise operating, then a 50 per cent waiver applies.
Mitcham has a critical small business economy, which includes retail and restaurants.
Trading restrictions have had a particularly disproportionate impact on hospitality, food service, travel and tourism, retail, education and recreational and entertainment services.
This means that the vibrant business centres we want to see are under intense pressures from the closures and disruptions. Our shopping districts run the risk of becoming hollowed out, dominated by large shopping centres only, with limited specialty shops. This is why we have acted.
The average saving for a business will be $660. This is real money; it’s real relief and it’s timely.
This built on the motion I moved and was passed on 14 April, which provided:
- that eligible rate payers experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic can, on application, defer outstanding rates and charges per property until 15 December 2020. They will also be able to access a 10 per cent rates rebate in 2020-21.
Eligible ratepayers for this rebate are considered to be:
- Commercial ratepayers (direct or indirect) who have been required to close
- Commercial ratepayers (direct or indirect) that are eligible for the ‘JobKeeper’ payment
- Non-Commercial ratepayers (direct or indirect) who are eligible for either the ‘JobSeeker’ or ‘JobKeeper’ payment
- Any other ratepayer (direct or indirect) that satisfies administration that they are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 situation, via a reduction in income of 15 per cent or greater.
The Council also waived inspection fees and charges associated with food businesses until 31 October 2020.
In addition, I was pleased to support the bring forward of $4.7m of stimulus projects and place on the table a large package of measures, some of which will require the State or Commonwealth to support.