17 July, 2020
Gunnedah Shire Council is moving to the second phase of its economic response to COVID-19, with the introduction of the Community Resilience Business Recovery Package - Invigorate Gunnedah.
The first phase of the COVID-19 Business Support Package, rolled out in April, saw a $1.6 million stimulus flow to the Shire which incorporated a freeze in interest accrual against rates, fees and charges, a reduction in business fees, and extension of existing grants programs to help businesses struggling due to COVID-19.
Endorsed by Council at the July Ordinary Meeting, the second phase of the package, valued at more than $800,000, incorporates a range of community and business initiatives to support recovery, rebuilding and revitalisation throughout the Gunnedah Shire.
Mayor of Gunnedah Shire Jamie Chaffey said Invigorate Gunnedah was shaped through community consultation, with the collaborative process allowing Council to identify where it had capacity to fill gaps in Federal and State Government support.
“We have heard first-hand from the local business community about their most pressing needs during this crisis. Feedback suggested that Council develop local spending incentives, support more community events and create a more vibrant CBD experience with street art and pop-up shops,” Cr Chaffey said.
“The business community told us they wanted guidance with efforts to diversify and future-proof, and they also want to see us using local goods and services for upcoming projects.
“The tourism sector has been heavily impacted by COVID-19, and some valuable feedback was received about capitalising on the increased interest in domestic travel and improving the overall visitor experience in Gunnedah.
“The community will see this feedback represented in Invigorate Gunnedah. This recovery package incorporates short-term strategies to help our community weather the current crisis, including Shop Local campaigns, visitor incentives to boost tourism, a Cultural Precinct 'pop-up' public domain project and the launch of a new procurement platform helping Council access more goods and services from local businesses.
“Invigorate Gunnedah also looks to the future through larger scale initiatives and infrastructure projects designed to generate greater investment in the Gunnedah Shire. The Business Partner Program will have extra funding for new projects and there will be an additional round for signage and façade upgrades.
“Building resilience, keeping people employed and ensuring businesses continue to succeed is at the heart of everything we are doing.”
The recovery package is centered upon six key objectives, including:
- Support local spending,
- Bring vibrancy back into the CBD,
- Strengthen our businesses and encourage resilience,
- Grow our tourism sector in Gunnedah Shire,
- Promote Gunnedah as the first choice to live, work and invest, and
- Drive local infrastructure projects to create more jobs.
Each objective will be achieved through a number of initiatives and strategies, to be rolled out in the coming weeks.
For further information about these initiatives and Gunnedah Shire Council’s broader COVID-19 response, visit www.gunnedah.nsw.gov.au
Media contact: Eliza Gallen (02) 6740 2100.