Colac Otway expands calls to businesses and encourages support
August 18, 2019

Colac Otway Shire Council Chief Executive Peter Brown has praised the business community across the shire for its resilience and proactive response to COVID19 Restrictions.

“This second round of restrictions has been very challenging for our local businesses, although most are showing amazing resilience in dealing with this unprecedented COVID19 situation,” Mr Brown said.

“Council has been able to bring staff together from areas of the organisation which are closed in accordance with restrictions to support the Economic Development team make contact with more than 500 businesses.

“The department had called businesses earlier in the year during the first wave of restrictions to find out how they were coping and what support we could offer.

“The information we gathered helped Council develop its Business and Community Support Fund, which provides almost $1 million in business fee relief and grants to help businesses diversify and boost the economy.

“We understand how challenging the current Stage 3 Restrictions are on our businesses and they need as much support as we can provide now and throughout the recovery phase,” he said.

Council’s Economic Development and Tourism team has now embarked on a second round of business calls to support local businesses through the second round of restrictions.

“Council has reached more than 230 businesses so far and our aim is to contact at least 600, with more farming businesses included in this round of calls.

“The hardest hit sectors include any businesses geared towards tourism trade, accommodation, beauty and food services.

“Sectors that are faring better include agriculture, information technology, health care and construction.

“A majority of the farmers we have called to date have been in dairy and beef, and they have told us that they have experienced little change, although they are concerned about the effect manufacturing slowdowns might have on their sector going forward.

“We have had many in-depth conversations with local businesspeople and we’re working to implement a range of initiatives to respond to the challenges they’ve identified.

“This work includes the availability of the Business and Community Support grants and we encourage businesses to look at the various components of Council’s Support Fund and how they will benefit.

“There is also a range of support available from State and Federal Government and through local business networks, and we urge our businesses to make sure they access any funding they are eligible to receive,” Mr Brown said.

“It is also important that the community support local businesses through online, takeaway or home delivery services or in accordance with Stage 3 Restrictions and keep our community safe.”


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