To help those most severely affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, Melbourne’s Darebin Council has announced a recovery package of approximately $10 million to provide relief to local businesses, community organisations and community members amid the ongoing pandemic.
At a Special Council Meeting on Friday 27 March, Darebin Council agreed to implement a COVID-19 Community and Local Business Resilience and Recovery Package.
The package prioritises assisting people already experiencing disadvantage or who have heightened vulnerability, while also providing immediate and ongoing support to local businesses.
A COVID-19 Financial Hardship Policy has also been developed, with the aim of providing financial relief to individuals and businesses who need assistance.
“This pandemic is affecting communities right around the world, including Darebin. We’re all in this together. Council will help our residents, ratepayers and businesses as much as we can,” Darebin Mayor Susan Rennie said.
“[The package] focuses on the most vulnerable in our community and areas of emerging vulnerability, including those at risk of experiencing homelessness, domestic violence, and people from diverse backgrounds, Aboriginal community members and older people living alone without support.”
Short and long term need of local business will also be addressed through the funding.
Support initiatives include resourses’ provision, waiving fees and providing guidance, counselling and training.
“It will also focus on community building initiatives and providing support to those involved in the struggling arts and culture sector,” Mayor Rennie said.
As part of the plan, the Council will provide short term funding to support local family violence, elder abuse and homelessness services in Darebin and will also redeploy staff to help those organisations respond to the increased demand.
Existing emergency relief services are also expected to benefit from the package in order to increase their capacity to respond to a growing client base, with food vouchers, essential supply hampers and local pre-made meals.
A Local Business Taskforce made up of local business leaders will be set up to define and deliver business programs designed to build resilience.
A dedicated Business Support Line will also be set up to assist impacted businesses and waive fees and charges, while a range of additional small and medium scale grants to support community groups will also be delivered as part of the package.
The Council has also committed to making a donation to the Inner North Community COVID-19 Fund in support of emergency relief vouchers for families among other actions.
For more information on the announcements outlined in the COVID-19 Community and Local Business Resilience and Recovery Package, visit https://bit.ly/2vX6LwH.