Wyndham City has welcomed the support packages recently announced by the State and Federal Governments but says businesses should not be left guessing about the level of support they will receive every time there’s a lockdown.
Wyndham City Mayor, Cr Adele Hegedich, said while she understood the current lockdown was necessary, it had been a terrible blow to local businesses that were already hurting.
“As a Council, we are doing everything we can to support our local economy, from the $5 million business support package released last year, to the Small Business Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund approved at last month’s meeting,” Cr Hegedich said.
Future Focussed Economy Portfolio Holder, Cr Mia Shaw, said Council was also spearheading a targeted Buy Local campaign for those residents who could afford to support local business.
“But in a rate-capping environment, it can’t be left up to local government and local communities to provide all the support for what is a national and global issue,” Cr Shaw said.
“Rate-capping has meant that Wyndham City Council has a $45 million deficit and we have a huge demand on services and infrastructure that we must fulfil,” Cr Shaw said.
Cr Shaw acknowledged the support announced by the State Government on Sunday and the further support announced by the Federal Government last Thursday but said businesses needed to be certain about the amount of support they would receive in the face of future lockdowns.
“Business owners can’t be left guessing every time about if, when and how much support they will receive. Lockdowns was an effective strategy in 2020 but 12 months on we need different strategies to deal with COVID outbreaks,” Cr Shaw said.
‘Shutting local businesses and local economies is not a long-term solution. Many of our local businesses and families are really hurting. The State and Federal Governments need to provide businesses and families with some ongoing certainty that they will be looked after if they continue down a lockdown strategy.”
Cr Hegedich said that while Council was encouraging those who can to support local businesses, she understood that there are people doing it tough who can’t afford takeaway.
She said there were a range of local services, including counselling and food relief, as well as business support services. If you need help, please visit www.wyndham.vic.gov.au and follow the links.