Extraordinary Council Meeting Agenda
2 April 2020
You are invited to attend the next Extraordinary Meeting of Council:
Thursday, 2 April 2020
Online – via Webcast
Extraordinary Council Meeting
2 April 2020
Chief Executive Officer
Extraordinary Council Meeting Agenda
2 April 2020
In accordance with Council’s Code of Meeting Practice the electronic recording of the Council Meeting and the use of electronic media during the proceedings is not permitted. This includes devices such as laptops, mobile phones, tape recorders and video cameras.
Members of the public are advised that open sessions of this meeting are webcast live for public viewing on Council’s website. Audio and video footage taken is of the CEO and Councillors only.
The Mayor will acknowledge the traditional Custodians of the Land.
2 April 2020
File Number: 10619-2#140
Wollondilly Shire Council recognises that businesses and residents are facing unprecedented challenges and uncertainty now and in the immediate future due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Council has prepared the $750,000 Wollondilly Business Support Package to support small business during this challenging time. This report outlines steps to be taken in stage one of the Business Support Package and recommends the establishment of a Business Community Taskforce to advise Council of further steps that can be taken to support the business sector of Wollondilly.
1. Endorse the first stage Wollondilly Business Support Package.
2. Introduce the following initiatives, waive and defer a range of fees and charges for the next 6 months including:
· Prioritising local businesses when planning Council contracted service delivery
· Cutting payment terms in half for local businesses to help cash flow
· Offering to defer commercial rates for businesses, subject to the landlords passing on this benefit to small business tenants
· Waiving of environmental health inspection fees for small businesses
· Waiving of fire safety inspection fees for small businesses
· Waiving of outdoor dining and advertising fees for small business
· Waiving of development application fees for small businesses
o Pre-lodgement advice fees
o Development application fees
o Construction & occupation certificate fees
o Related application fees under Section 68 of the Local Government Act and Section 138 of the Roads Act.
· Rent relief offered for small businesses and community organisations using Council properties, upon application
· Focussing Council’s Wollondilly Business team to implement a range of programs and resources to support small business through the economic impact of Covid-19 and recovery including:
o engaging and communicate with local business
o Supporting business in seeking financial / non-financial assistance
o Reducing council costs for local businesses
o Coordinating support services for local businesses
o Advocating to Government on behalf of local businesses
o Adapting to a new way of doing business
o Promoting shop, visit and love local campaigns.
3. Consider and appoint members to the Wollondilly Business Community Taskforce.
The Wollondilly business community is the foundation of our local economy and in recognition of the importance of our local businesses who provide jobs, goods and services, Council has developed the Wollondilly Business Support Package.
The Commonwealth and State Governments, have released a number of stimulus packages with financial and non-financial support and Council will be implementing this plan to further assist local business. The Commonwealth and State Governments will more than likely release further support packages and likewise, Council will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and respond appropriately.
One of Council’s priorities during these challenging times is making sure local businesses feel supported, are well informed and know where and how to get the best advice about funding and practical resources. There are 4,551 small businesses across Wollondilly and our objective for the Wollondilly Business Support Package is to deliver appropriate support for businesses in three phases – survival, adaptation and recovery.
Specifically, we hope to:
• Engage and communicate with local business
• Support business in seeking financial / non-financial assistance
• Reduce council-controlled costs for local businesses
• Coordinate support services for local businesses
• Advocate to Government on behalf of local businesses
• Adapt to a new way of doing business
• Promoting shop, visit and love local.
The first release of the business support plan focuses on the business survival phase and subsequent releases will include additional support and initiatives across all three phases as circumstances dictate. Council will also consider relaxation of a range of fees and charges to assist local businesses and the community.
The first phase is an investment from Council of $750,000.
The first phase comprises the following strategies:
· Waiving or deferring a range of fees and charges, providing space for businesses to recover.
o Prioritising local businesses when planning Council contracted service delivery
o Cutting payment terms in half for local businesses to help cash flow
o Offering to defer commercial rates for businesses, subject to the landlords passing on this benefit to business tenants
o Waiving of environmental health inspection fees for businesses
o Waiving of fire safety inspection fees for businesses
o Waiving of outdoor dining and advertising fees for business
o Waiving of development application and assessment fees for businesses
o Waiving of building compliance fees for businesses
o Rent relief offered for small businesses and community organisations using Council properties upon application
· Dedicated team to support Wollondilly Business
Council has established a dedicated team to support local business in Wollondilly. This team will implement a range of programs and resources to support local business. The focus will be to:
o Engage and communicate with local business
o Support business in seeking financial / non-financial assistance
o Reduce council costs for local businesses
o Coordinate support services for local businesses
o Advocate to Government on behalf of local businesses
o Adapt to a new way of doing business
o Promoting shop, visit and love local campaigns
· Business Wollondilly
Business Wollondilly is a new Facebook Group created to support Council’s communication and engagement strategy for business. This social channel will enable the sharing of important information on the various whole-of-government support programs that are currently available, be a platform that allows business to network with each other and to share challenges, ideas and opportunities as well as provide valuable information for council to respond to the COVID-19 reality.
· Mental Health and Well-being support
Council recognises that people are feeling worried, stressed and anxious in relation to the coronavirus (COVID-19). The Wollondilly Business support team will link businesses into our partnership program with Community Links Wellbeing and other business resources for mental health and wellbeing support.
· Advocacy for Small Business
Council continues to advocate for small business to Federal and State Government. In response to COVID-19, Council will continue to advocate for financial and non-financial support, to influence policy changes that support business success from the State and Federal Government as well as from the private sector.
· Hardship Policy
Businesses and residents can access financial hardship support from Council which will allow them to defer any outstanding accounts, including rates, interest free under Council’s Hardship Policy. Council will be providing an online request for relief process to ensure that effected businesses and residents can get the assistance they need as quickly as possible without delays.
· New Business Operating Models
Council will support businesses wanting to transition to new operating models in partnership with government and the private sector. Businesses will be linked into programs available through a series of webinars and other digital communication tools. This initiative will provide the tools and skills to adapt to new ways of doing business to meet the challenges of COVID-19 and other business disruptors. Council will advise businesses of these various opportunities as they become available through the Business Wollondilly Facebook Group and other communications channels like Electronic Direct Mail (eDM).
· Digital Skills Development
Council will take an active role in helping businesses to develop their digital skills through social media channels and webinars. With current changes to consumer behaviour local business will need to find alternative ways to connect with customers, upskill and do business. We will support local businesses to find new ways to connect with customers. Council’s plan includes:
o Communicating with the business community on developments in relation to COVID-19 and other events.
o Delivering social media and marketing workshops online.
o Creating digital campaigns (Love the Dilly Campaign) to promote shop local, visit local, love local.
o Establishing a series of webinars to assist businesses adapt to changing conditions.
Examples of learning tools include:
o Google Analytics Academy – Google’s measurement tools to support businesses through intelligent data collection and analysis
o Google Digital Garage - A range of free online courses to support business, such as:
§ Get your business online
§ Make sure customers can find you
§ Promote a business with online advertising
§ Connect with customers over mobile.
o Facebook Blueprint – Learning how to use Facebook for marketing businesses
o Instagram (through Facebook Blueprint) – Introduction to Instagram and Instagram for businesses.
· Business Community Taskforce
Council will invite a selection of key business representatives to form a Business Community Taskforce to advise Council on responses to COVID-19 and what assistance and / or support might be needed.
· Funding Programs
Council is currently applying for a number of grants that are designed to support economic development. It is expected that Council will be advised of the outcomes of these grant applications within the next few weeks and months.
· Compliance (Planning, Health & Environment)
Council will adopt a flexible and practical approach to compliance and enforcement. This will enable businesses to adapt to changing government rules as a result of COVID-19 and consumer demand. Council will limit enforcement action to matters that are only of an imminent public or environmental safety risk. A dedicated officer will be available to respond to all business planning and compliance queries.
· Environmental Health Inspections
Council will waive charges for the routine inspection program. Our Health, Environmental and Compliance Teams will continue to investigate urgent and critical matters relating to public health and environmental impact but these necessary services will not incur fees or charges outside of enforcement action.
· Restaurants & Take-Away Businesses
Council will allow restaurants and other food businesses not currently licenced that have development consents to provide a take-away service for the community. Council will also relax parking time requirements to allow for increased take-away pickups in shopping areas.
· Supermarkets, Food & Beverage Premises
Council will not enforce trading or delivery hour restrictions for supermarkets / grocery stores or food and beverage premises.
· Outdoor Dining Fees
Council will waive outdoor dining fees for a period of 12 months, subject to the normal application process, and will provide proactive support for businesses to help them extend their seating outside their dining areas if required, to ensure compliance with the required social distancing measures.
· Tourism & Business Investment
Council’s Tourism & Business Investment Department will actively engage with local Chambers of Commerce, State and Federal Government, Destination NSW (DNSW), Destination Sydney Surrounds South (DSSS), other Councils and Business Networks including the Tourism Community Advisory Committee (TCAC) and Economic Development Community Advisory Committee (EDCAC).
· Regular Updates for the Local Business Community
Businesses should ensure that they like, follow and / or subscribe to the following:
o Wollondilly Business Database - Email: email@example.com
o Business Wollondilly Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/groups/257191298618747/
o Visit Wollondilly Facebook Page - https://www.facebook.com/visitwollondilly/
o Visit Wollondilly Instagram Account - https://www.instagram.com/visitwollondilly/
o Wollondilly Shire Council Newsletter Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Commonwealth and State Government Support to date
Commonwealth Government Support:
The Australian Government is supporting businesses to manage cash flow challenges and retain employees. Assistance includes cash flow support and temporary measures to provide relief for financially distressed businesses. Some of these measures include:
· Boosting cash flow for employers
· Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses
· Increasing the instant asset write-off
· Backing business investment
· Supporting apprentices and trainees
· Australian Taxation Office (ATO) Emergency Support Info-line (1800 806 218)
· Support for Coronavirus-affected regions and communities
· Coronavirus Business Liaison Unit.
Commonwealth Government Treasury – www.treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/businesses
NSW Government Support:
The NSW Government announced a stimulus package to support businesses, which includes:
· Tax relief of $1.6 billion for small businesses to help save jobs as the state braces for the dire economic impact of the virus.
· Waiver of payroll tax for businesses with payrolls of up to $10 million for three months (the rest of 2019-20).
· Bringing forward the next round of payroll tax cuts by raising the threshold limit to $1 million in 2020-21
· Waive a range of fees and charges for small businesses including bars, cafes, restaurants and trades.
NSW Small Business Commissioner
The COVID-19 outbreak is impacting businesses globally in many ways including reduced trade, temporary business closures, staffing issues, and supply chain interruptions. The following information will provide you with tips and resources to help you manage your small business during the crisis and into the recovery phase. Please visit the NSW Small Business Commissioner’s Website as information will be updated regularly.
· Businesses experiencing lost trade and cash-flow problems
· Deferring business loan repayments
· Advice for seeking rent reductions
· Information on business obligations under retail or commercial leases
· Information on Business Continuity Plans (BCP)
· Employer obligations
NSW Small Business Commissioner – www.smallbusiness.nsw.gov.au/get-help
Relationships with Government Agencies & Business Organisations
Council will continue working with the Federal and NSW Government and other business organisations to provide advice and support for local business. These include:
· NSW Treasury (Industry NSW)
· NSW Small Business Commissioner
· Australian Taxation Office (ATO)
· Service NSW (Easy to Do Business)
· NSW Business Connect
· Department of Primary Industries (DPI)
· Department of Planning, Industry & Environment (DPIE)
· Destination NSW (DNSW)
· Destination Sydney Surrounds South (DSSS)
· Picton Chamber of Commerce https://pictonchamber.com.au/
· Appin Chamber of Commerce https://www.facebook.com/appinchamber/
· Wollondilly Women in Business (WWIB) http://www.wwib.com.au/
Please note that the above mentioned business support initiatives are subject to change in response to relevant Federal, State and Local Government rules and regulations.
This package has been developed in consultation with the business community and through a number of urgent Councillor Briefings.
The initial expenditure to be incurred on the basis of the recommendations of this report is able to be funded from Council’s existing adopted budget. Income forecasts for the current year and future periods are expected to be impacted as the support package is applied and will be subsequently revised as part of Council’s Quarterly Business Review and Operational Plan preparation processes.
1. Wollondilly Business Support Package ⇩