UNDER PRESSURE: Chamber of Commerce Chair Phil Henry discusses the impact of COVID-19 on small business at a special meeting held at Livingstone Shire Council Chambers on Monday.
UNDER PRESSURE: Chamber of Commerce Chair Phil Henry discusses the impact of COVID-19 on small business at a special meeting held at Livingstone Shire Council Chambers on Monday.

LSC begins journey of help for local business

METERED parking across Yeppoon CBD will be suspended until further notice and Livingstone Shire Council open spaces will be opened for training by gyms and personal trainers as the first step in assisting small business after Federal Government restrictions on licenced premises and personal distancing were amped up on Monday.

A special meeting of Livingstone Shire Council was convened yesterday to discuss ,with the Capricornia Chamber of Commerce and Capricorn Enterprise, measures that Livingstone Shire Council may be able to adopt to assist small business viability in the face of impacts presented by the escalating COVID-19 threat.

Capricornia Chamber of Commerce chairman Phil Henry said the Chamber had reduced its membership for next six to 12 months in light of the restrictions and was collating credible information as it came to hand to assist businesses.

“The meeting was called so we can work with our local Council to collectively look at all possibilities to assist businesses in any way we can,” Mr Henry said.

“This is a difficult time where we are already seeing stress and a decline in mental health across the board.”

Capricorn Enterprise CEO Mary Carroll said many businesses were being put in the position where they would be struggling to pay their rent.

“Right now, we need a whole of community response by everyone shopping locally and supporting local business by buying local, booking holidays locally and supporting each other until this catastrophe is over,” Ms Carroll said.

“We launched a survey with our members last week and the results showed that businesses have never seen losses like this before.

“The federal stimulus packages are most welcome and will help to a degree.

“Capricorn Enterprise has launched the Rockhampton Capricorn Coast Buy Local site which, after three days, already has 2600 members.

“Businesses can share ideas, specials and new innovations while the general public can also locate services and support their local businesses.”

Mayor Bill Ludwig said the special meeting was in response to calls by both industry representative groups for councils to explore opportunities to provide support for their members and the small to medium industry sectors generally.

“Last week Council co-ordinated a joint teleconference of both our Economic Taskforce and Community Support Taskforce to receive updates from both taskforce groups,” Mayor Ludwig said.

“It is important that the response to this extreme event is well-co-ordinated and regionally targeted to ensure those most at risk from both the disease, and the economic impacts, get the maximum support as quickly as possible.

“The extraordinary levels of financial assistance being announced by the Federal Government mitigate both the spread of the disease and the financial impacts of businesses and regional economies across the nation are certainly welcomed.

“While the ability of councils to assist in purely financial terms is likely to be limited, given the scale of the impacts, we will be looking at every measure where we can play a significant support role.

“These are certainly challenging times, which will call for ‘whole of government’ responses. In a fast-moving environment those responses must made in a timely manner.”

Mayor Ludwig said, subject to the elections proceeding, the newly elected council would have the opportunity to look at licencing fees and other areas that Council might be able to reduce costs to assist local business operators.

“During the course of the meeting the Premier announced the unprecedented move of closing the borders to all non-essential travel,” he said.

“I must stress that this does not apply to the supply chain. If people only purchase what they would normally buy, there will be no food shortages.”



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