Frankston City Council unanimously endorsed a $6.434 million enhanced Relief and Recovery Package at its Ordinary Meeting (11 May 2020), to support local short, medium and long-term COVID-19 recovery initiatives.
Since the Victorian state of emergency was declared in mid-March, Council has ensured the continuation of vital services including Meals on Wheels, immunisations, waste collection and support for businesses and vulnerable members of the community.
These measures were bolstered by the introduction of additional resources such as the Community Recovery Call Centre, Council’s live chat service and the roll out of food donation stations.
As well as building on the services and supports in place, the enhanced package identifies further targeted ways Council will ensure individuals, communities and businesses are best positioned to recover over the coming year.
Frankston City Mayor, Sandra Mayer, said Council had listened to the community and incorporated their feedback into the Relief and Recovery Package, which includes 53 initiatives in total.
“Councillors are united in their determination to support the community as it recovers from the challenges brought about by COVID-19,” Cr Mayer said.
“We’re all in this together, however Frankston City is a diverse community with diverse needs, which is why Council has ensured its Relief and Recovery Package has something for everyone.”
The Mayor said Council also remained committed to delivering its $61.07 million capital works program, and realised the positive impact on jobs these projects would have.
“Getting our community through this tough time and addressing our residents’ immediate needs is our priority. Although some projects have been necessarily deferred, they have not been cancelled; we are committed to delivering them as soon as we possibly can.”
A major focus of the Relief and Recovery Package is supporting the city’s business community and economy.
“We have been speaking to our business community to better understand how we can help,” Cr Mayer said, adding that Council was acutely aware of how job losses were affecting the city and had allocated $1.68 million for the redeployment of staff.
“Council is a major regional employer, and more than 60 per cent of our workforce live locally. We therefore have a direct responsibility in minimising the impact of job losses.
“That’s why the package incorporates opportunities for our employees whose normal activities are unavailable. They are being redeployed to work that is vital to the recovery effort.”
The Mayor said this would include supporting the community’s most vulnerable.
“We have worked tirelessly on this care package, to ensure the community is looked after, particularly those residents who are at greater risk due to financial restraints and social isolation.
“Please keep talking to us, and if you need support reach out. We have a community call centre available to connect you with Council and other support agencies you may needs at this time. Phone 1300 322 322.”
Relief and Recovery Package key inclusions
- Rate relief valued at $1.2 million, which includes a $200 waiver for eligible owner-occupier ratepayers receiving Job Seeker unemployment benefits through Centrelink
- Ceasing all legal action to recover outstanding rates and placing a freeze on raising of penalty interest until at least the end of September 2020. These measures may be extended in line if the need is determined
- Funding to provide increased checks on rooming houses to ensure the health and safety of residents and to deliver hygiene products and other essential care items
- $20,000 in additional funds to deliver care packages and phone checks to the city’s elderly and isolated residents
- $30,000 to assist students to purchase essential study materials
- A $300,000 financial contribution to Community Support Frankston for emergency food or equipment to be purchased through local suppliers – coupled with a $50,000 investment to increase volunteer support at our city’s community shower service To promote community connection
- The extension of online Library services such as an expanded collection of e-resources, live streaming of events such as story time and author talks, and free online borrowing
- $20,000 to create an arts collective encouraging artists, writers and film makers to create stories, short films and imagery for a piece reflecting on how the city has been impacted by the pandemic
- A $52,000 creative industries and arts grant program which will provide mentoring to creatives wishing to turn their talents into businesses
- Adaption of the Greening Our Future events to online formats
- Expansion of the community grants program to $500,000 in order to support local clubs and community groups in their COVID-19 recovery efforts
- The waiving of sporting club tenancy and ground allocation fees until at least September, with a total value of $150,000To support businesses, employment and the economy
- An expanded Invest Frankston business grants program, including the creation of fast grant opportunities, with a funding pool totalling $450,000 to support investment in commercial and industrial premises
- $130,000 in rent relief to businesses operating within Council owned buildings
- $50,000 to provide local businesses outreach support, information and tools to help them plan, prepare, adapt, upskill and communicate to their customers
- Early payment of Council suppliers to help with their cash flow
- $40,000 to develop loyalty programs for local businesses and marketing campaigns to encourage residents to explore locally rather than travelling
- Waiving of Food Act and kerbside trading fees valued at $160,000 “These are just some of the initiatives included in the package, with many more addressing the needs of our arts community, environment and local economy, along with students and parents,” said the Mayor Council has also identified opportunities for potential inclusion in the Victorian Government’s Working for Victoria program, such as:
- An Increased sanitisation schedule – Addressing cleanliness of furniture in high priority reserves
- Community tree planting programs and hand weeding – Engaging unemployed community members to plant indigenous flora and supervised hand weeding in streetscapes and reserves
As a community we have a long road ahead, but Council will continue to be there supporting your every step of the way,” the Mayor said.
To learn more about the support initiatives listed in the Relief and Recovery Package, or to check your eligibility contact Council’s Community Recovery Call Centre. Phone: 1300 322 322 during business hours