Mayor fighting for more support for local businesses

Date published: 29 March 2019

Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill is calling on Federal and State Governments to urgently simplify and streamline disaster assistance for local businesses impacted by the unprecedented monsoon.

The Monsoon Floods 2019 Business Survey identified almost 600 local small businesses impacted with average losses of about $98,000.

Cr Hill said she was concerned that local businesses were missing out on crucial funding to help them recover from the unprecedented monsoon.

“More than $30 million in state and federal funding has been approved for business grants but less than 3 per cent of that money has gone directly to Townsville businesses, according to Commonwealth Government figures,” Cr Hill said.

“The application process needs to be streamlined and simplified to ensure local businesses have fairer and easier access to the disaster recovery funding they are entitled to.

“The up-front grant for businesses should be lifted to $20,000 and the criteria should be broadened to allow it to be used on professional services such as financial advice or legal support.

“These funds will support our businesses and economy during a time of great need.”

Townsville Local Recovery and Resilience Group Acting Chair Cr Mark Molachino said Council is working tirelessly with the business community to support the economic recovery of the city.

“Many of our businesses are doing it tough and they urgently need support,” Cr Molachino said.

“We are appealing to the respective State and Federal Ministers to help our local businesses and make more financial support available – and make it easier to access.”

Governance and Finance Committee Chair Cr Verena Coombe said local businesses needed certainty about disaster recovery assistance before the looming federal election.

“In the current environment of poor cash flow, much more support is needed for local businesses impacted by the monsoon,” Cr Coombe said.

“The Federal and State Governments should increase their efforts and put more resources into ensuring our local businesses recover.

“We are also calling for a reduction in the paperwork required to access assistance and for financial counselling to be provided for businesses unable to afford this over the next year.

“Local businesses are the backbone of our economy and getting them back up and running is important to ensuring workers get back to work.”