Businesses across the Moreton Bay Region affected by the latest COVID-19 lockdown who are looking for support might be struggling to know where to start.
Moreton Bay Regional Council has put together a list of places business owners can go for financial assistance, personal support, advice and training during these challenging times. (See the list and links at the bottom of this story)
There is already plenty happening including a freeze on licencing fees for hospitality businesses (since September 2019), rates relief for those experiencing financial distress and record investment in infrastructure in a bid to keep the region’s economy firing.
A massive $104 million in combined government spending on infrastructure has been injected into the local economy to fund 146 projects and support more than 1500 jobs.
Moreton Bay Regional Council provided 40 per cent of that funding and was one of the fastest councils in the country to recognise the benefit of putting forward shovel-ready projects for government investment, to keep the local economy ticking through COVID lockdowns.
Mayor Peter Flannery says the successful COVID-19 response to this point has been a whole-of-community effort.
“While Council has budgeted $55 million to pay for all our different stimulus initiatives at this tough time, the greatest support has actually come from locals standing by each other,” he says.
“Our #MoretonBayTough campaign has been a bigger success than we could have hoped with locals responding to our calls to buy local, shop local and holiday locally.
“Even when Moreton Bay Region Industry and Tourism (MBRIT) made the heartbreaking announcement at the weekend that the Food + Wine Festival had been cancelled, they were immediately inundated with people asking how they could support impacted businesses and buy their perishable goods.
“It’s thanks to you for backing our region and supporting each other at this uncertain time that we look set to succeed on the other side. I’ve never been prouder to be the leader of this region.
“As a Council we’ve contemplated how to respond not only to the significant financial and business impacts, but also the human and social impacts of coronavirus and mitigate future risks to our broader economy.
“We are resolute and united around the Moreton Bay Recovery Plan and that roadmap has stood us in good stead to respond and recover from the economic and social impacts of COVID-19.
“It outlines a list of 163 actions derived from consultations undertaken with more than 480 businesses, industries, community groups, government agencies and non-government organisations, and feedback from the community.
“The good news is that the stimulus packages we rolled out immediately after the pandemic hit have helped, so now we need to turn our attention to the medium-term and longer-term actions needed to ensure we stay on track and then bounce back even stronger on the other side of coronavirus.”
Mayor Flannery says that’s why the new Regional Economic Development Strategy sets the ambitious target of building a $40 billion economy with an additional 16,000 new businesses to support an additional 100,000 new jobs by 2041.
“That’s why we’ve established the independent MILLovate Board to focus on attracting new investment to ensure this enormous knowledge and innovation precinct is developed with longer-term strategies in mind, free from the four-year election cycles of Council,” he says.
“All of these actions are because my overriding concern right now remains supporting local jobs, which is why this year’s record Budget allocates $245 million for capital works which will support more than 3,000 direct and indirect jobs.
“I want locals to know that while times are tough, Moreton Bay is tougher and we’re doing everything in our power to put this region’s recovery on a fighting foot.”
The support and services listed below from State, Commonwealth and Local Government may be of assistance to the business community at this time.
2021 COVID-19 Business Support Grants for lockdown-impacted businesses (Qld Gov)
$5,000 grants for small and medium businesses across Queensland affected by the COVID-19 lockdown that commenced on Saturday 31 July 2021 and lockdowns in other states. Find out more here.
Federal COVID-19 Disaster Payment (Aust Gov)
Support ($750 per week) payment for workers adversely affected by a state public health order, including a lockdown. Find out more here.
Rates Payment Plans (MBRC)
Options for property owners experiencing difficulty paying their rates in the Moreton Bay Regional Council area. Find out more here.
Funding Finder (MBRC)
Free access to Moreton Bay Regional Council Funding Finder to see what national grants are available to support you.
Mental Health and Wellbeing Resources for Businesses
Emergency Support: Find a mental health service here if you need help now – phone triple zero (000) or go to a hospital if you are in immediate danger.
Beyond Blue Mental Health Support for Small Business Owners
Free and confidential assessments and mental health coaching (up to six sessions) for small business owners, including sole traders. Find out more here.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Mental Health Resources
Tools, templates and tips to manage stress and proactively engage with running your business. Find out more here.
Financial Counselling for Small Business (Aust Gov and Qld Gov)
Free financial counselling for small businesses in the Moreton Bay Region is available through the Small Business Financial Counselling Program. Find out more here.
Assistance negotiating rent and lease conditions (Qld Gov) Support for businesses with a turnover of less than $50 million to negotiate changes to rent and lease conditions for premises that are wholly or predominately used for carrying out business. Find out more here.
Information and advocacy support to small businesses, and informal resolution and mediation of COVID-19 affected small business leases is also available through the Queensland Small Business Commissioner (QSBC). Find out more here.
Training support resources and templates
2021 SEQ Lockdown - QTIC Tourism Support Webinar
A free session for industry members to discuss further details on the business support packages available from Queensland Government. Find out more here.
Covid Safe Training (Qld Gov)
Free online training modules through TAFE Qld on COVID safety for the hospitality industry, and beauty, nail, tanning, spas and tattooing sectors. Find out more here.
Small Business Skills (Qld Gov)
Free online training and learning opportunities COVID-19 impacted small businesses are available from the Small Business Skills Hub. Find out more here.
Templates for Businesses
The National Retail Association has created a raft of posters, social media tiles and other supporting material for retailers here.
USC Business Planning Course
Free Business Planning Course designed to provide local business owners with a clear understanding of the key factors that underpin their success and are critical to their long-term survival. Find out more here.
Australian Government Business Hotline - 13 28 46
Queensland Government Small Business Hotline - 1300 654 687
Australian Taxation Office Emergency Hotline - 1800 806 218
Centrelink Hotline - 13 74 68
Doing business with Council
Moreton Bay Regional Council has a ‘Local Preference Policy’ that is aimed at proactively supporting local businesses and industry to thrive in the Moreton Bay Region. This includes ‘local preference’ and ‘local weighting’ into its procurement policies. Find out more here.
Open tenders are advertised on Council's website and on the eProcure website. By registering you will receive notifications when a tender is advertised.
MBRC is committed to fast tracking payments to suppliers. If your business is experiencing cash flow challenges that can be assisted by a fast-track payment for goods or services you have provided to Council, contact [email protected]
If your business has any immediate issues regarding licences and regulations (e.g. food licences) that is impacting your business during lockdown, phone Council’s Customer Call Centre on 3205 0555.
Scarborough teenager Jack Lewis has packed his bags and is ready to fly almost 12,000km for one of the biggest tests of his sporting career. ** FREE TO READ **
The ultimate kids’ weekend is quickly approaching with Moreton Kids Festival, which is coming to Pine Rivers Park on March 10. Here's the details
Construction is officially under way on a new 80-bed youth detention centre at Woodford. ** FREE TO READ **
Check out the background, community involvement and campaign issues of those chasing seven places on Moreton Bay City Council in next month's elections.