Mandurah City Council has approved an historic $5million plan to Restart Mandurah following devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the local economy.
Mayor Rhys Williams said the community had done an amazing job at flattening the curve and tackling the spread of COVID-19, however the economic impacts of social distancing restrictions would be felt for some time yet.
“Initial figures show that over 2000 jobs have so far been lost in Mandurah and an additional 1500 local people are on JobKeeper,” he said.
“We need to take this recovery very seriously, because as anyone who has faced the prospects of unemployment knows, the social impacts on people’s lives when faced with job losses are significant.
“With restrictions now easing, Council has turned its focus to restarting Mandurah’s economy and helping our community to repair the devastating impacts caused by coronavirus.
“I am confident that Council’s plans to restart Mandurah will put money back into the areas of construction, hospitality, retail and tourism, which have been hit hardest in the short term and will help set Mandurah up for a more resilient future in the longer term.”
Key initiatives of the Restart Mandurah Plan include:
• Over $2million worth of new local construction projects aimed at putting money into the pockets of local small and family-owned businesses, and to stimulate jobs in Mandurah now;
• $2.785million for other Restart Mandurah initiatives, likely to include a new business grants program, and events and activations to attract visitors and stimulate local spending;
• $170,000 in waived inspection fees for food premises and annual licence fees for caravan parks and camping grounds.
Council has also reallocated about $4.8million in the draft budget to support Mandurah’s restart, including concessions to businesses, supporting new events and arts and culture activities.
Mayor Williams said there would also be a rate freeze for residents and a five percent rate cut for businesses. The rate due date is also extended to November.
“This is an obvious decision, but an important one, as residents and businesses need some certainty as to their liabilities going forward and flexibility in managing their payments,” Mayor Williams said.
“It also means more money in the pockets of businesses for longer, which combined with other Restart Mandurah initiatives, will help to stimulate employment for local people.”
A new business leader taskforce, made up of local experienced business and economic leaders, will also be set up to advise Council on its economic development agenda and provide strategic, expert advice to the City of Mandurah and other key groups.
“Leadership is about getting the brightest minds in the room and getting the best advice, which is why we’re establishing this group,” Mayor Williams said.
“The taskforce will be led by a brilliant local leader, who I will announce soon, and will help us identify and act on those initiatives that will give us the best chance of a strong restart and future economic transformation.”
The City is also working with State and Federal Governments, the Peel Development Commission, Regional Development Australia Peel, Visit Mandurah, Peel Chamber of Commerce and Industry and others.
“We are fortunate that we have local MP’s and other local leaders who are so behind our community recovery, and I’m grateful that they’ve agreed to work with us on this to ensure all levels of government are aware of Mandurah’s needs,” he said.
“One thing Mandurah has really demonstrated over the last couple of months is its community spirit and commitment to being good citizens.
“Right now, Mandurah is facing unemployment rates of anywhere up to 15 percent, which isn’t just data, it’s real people facing significant stress on themselves and their families.
“Very serious concerns have been raised by health authorities about mental health issues directly related to the economic shutdown and it is vital we take this seriously and approach it with a whole of community effort.
“This is a time for citizenship. This is a time for spending money locally, joining up with neighbourhood associations and sporting clubs, helping others in need, and playing an active part in Mandurah’s recovery.”
The City of Mandurah is also working through the operational aspects of the easing restrictions recently announced by Government and will be releasing further details about the reinstatement of community facilities, services and operations shortly.