2021/2022 Budget - $2M for COVID-19 recovery
A $2M COVID-19 support package for business and the community is a key feature of the proposed 2021/2022 City of Greater Bendigo Budget.
The package covers five key areas:
- Business Innovation and Collaboration Grants
- COVID-19 Financial Hardship Policy
- Reduced fees and charges
- Event attraction
- Tourism and regional destination marketing
Eligible businesses will be able to apply for funding under a new allocation of $729,000 for Business Innovation and Collaboration Grants. This funding will be targeted to activities businesses may not have otherwise been able to do as a result of COVID-19.
A range of fees and charges will either be waived or frozen at 2019/2020 levels for the second year in a row, representing a saving of $576,000 to the community. Approximately 420 community fees and charges such as parking fees, swimming pool entry and costs to hire community facilities will be frozen, and outdoor dining, A-frame and ‘goods on footpath’ fees will be waived.
The COVID-19 Financial Hardship Policy will be extended for another 12 months. This policy enables ratepayers experiencing financial hardship to apply for the deferral of rates payments without penalty interest being applied. This initiative is valued at $275,000.
The Budget will allocate $265,000 for additional event attraction, which will aim to boost the visitor economy by increasing overnight stays and dining and retail expenditure in local businesses. This approximately doubles the allocation towards this form of event attraction compared to previous years.
To support this, $155,000 will be invested in marketing the Greater Bendigo region via targeted tourism and events campaigns based on Bendigo Art Gallery exhibitions, attractions and City of Gastronomy experiences, such as the upcoming Ignite winter tourism campaign.
Mayor Cr Jennifer Alden said despite restrictions easing, the social and economic impacts of the pandemic continued and it was important to support the community during this time.
“This Budget recognises the ongoing challenges associated with COVID-19. Our local visitor economy is based on a strong events calendar, so investment in new events will attract more people to eat, stay and play in our region,” Cr Alden said.
“Investment in events will also add to the vibrancy of our community for residents, providing more opportunities for us all to enjoy coming together with family and friends and reconnect.
“Further freezing or waiving fees and charges will also lessen the financial burden for businesses, community groups wanting to access local facilities and residents as they access services.”
To view the proposed Budget, go to https://letstalkgreaterbendigo.com.au/budget-2021-2022