Townsville City Council has added additional measures to the multimillion-dollar support package targeted at providing extra support to small businesses feeling the effects of COVID-19. These measures – that could be worth up to $30 million – were approved as part of a special council meeting earlier today.

The second part of the package will include provisions to support the over 300 contractors currently being utilised by Council, promote small businesses through social media, and redeploy Council staff to assist with essential community services. Townsville Local Disaster Management Group Chair Mayor Jenny Hill said these initiatives would be critical to ensuring as many of Townsville’s small businesses can remain as operational as possible.

“Council is rolling out these measures to help alleviate some of the hardship being felt by our small businesses as we manage the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Cr Hill said. “We announced last week that we would be introducing a raft of measures that we endorsed today, and these extra measures will provide support to the businesses that are located both in the city, and in our suburbs. “Our message to Townsville residents is that they should be buying local, we’re seeing some incredible innovation from our small businesses and it would be great to see our community getting behind them.”

As part of the package to support local businesses, Council will also be looking to break up work packages – similar to the way the Water Pipeline contracts were tendered – to allow more contractors to secure work on Council projects. Council will also be changing its invoicing policy to facilitate the payment of contractor invoices within 14 days where possible, rather than the usual 30 days. Cr Hill said small things like this would make a huge impact on local industry and their ability to continue working during the pandemic.

“This is about minimising any cash flow burden on our small businesses that may experience hardship as a result of COVID-19,” Cr Hill said. “While we wanted this package to be available immediately, the increasing restrictions on social distancing may make this a long-term package for the recovery of the city. “This is also why we’ve announced the reduction in development application fees and infrastructure charges to keep development in the city moving. “I urge our residents to be responsible and practice good hygiene but to still lend their support to their favourite local shops – whether that be takeaway from restaurants, hairdressers, boutiques or fresh produce.”

These additional measures join the package worth $2.3 million that was announced last week.

Council media information: 0429 803 640

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