Calls for urgent 'road out' plan to support for Peninsula businesses 'on the brink.'
The Committee for Mornington Peninsula (CfMP) is urging the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council make a roadmap for economic recovery their
top priority as many local businesses report being 'on the brink' as a result of COVID-pandemic containment restrictions.
The local 'think tank' has heard how the benefits of modest Council relief measures do not represent a clear 'road out' for the local
economic and the many business struggling to survive in the retail, hospitality, visitor and leisure industries are desperately awaiting a
clear plan from the Shire about how it aims to support a reboot of the local economy and local businesses once current COVID-19 lockdown
restrictions are eased.
President for the CfMP, Shannon Smit said “With the Premier due to release plans for lifting of restrictions for both metropolitan and regional Victoria on Sunday, the Mornington Peninsula needs a local government plan that is timely and workable. I would urge the current Councillors to ensure this piece of work is done prior to the Council entering caretaker mode for the upcoming election "Ms Smit said.
"Our research points to many hospitality and retail businesses being on the brink and in desperate need of hope and a road out of the current punishing business conditions on the Peninsula.
"We have proposed the activation of public spaces to support restaurants and cafes, creating a COVID-19 Business Response and Recovery Taskforce to provide advice and assistance and for Council to support the business community with streamlined permit processes and fee reductions. Hearing that the Council has some of its own ideas is encouraging, but we have not seen a willing embrace of employer and business community input.
We are just days out from restrictions potentially being lifted, with no sign of a clear plan from the MPS that gives our
job-creators some hope and certainty that the Council has them front-of-mind and is going to assist them. "
"Summer is around the corner and the CfMP is concerned that with no plan in place, Mornington Peninsula businesses are going to miss out on key opportunities in the recovery phase. A handbrake on summer trade and missed opportunities to commence recovery will mean many great Mornington Peninsula Businesses will not survive”, Ms Smit said.
The CfMP point to great examples of the work other Councils are doing and have been doing in this space since the COVID-19 Pandemic occurred including:
- COVID-29 business support grant programs for businesses
- Inviting local businesses to be involved in roundtables and similar to formulate strategies to respond to COVID-19
- Compliance and enforcement action prioritised to issues of public and environmental safety risk during COVID-19 response and recovery
- activating local shopping centres through COVID outdoor dining including parklets being installed throughout the City to create spaces for pedestrian activity and including seating, dining areas, greenery and bike parking
- payment deferrals for quarterly rate payments
- fees for amendments to planning applications being waived
- local shopping centre ‘Buy local' and 'Activation' campaigns
- improving access to local shopping centres through investment in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure
CfMP Member and owner of Green Olive at Red Hill, Greg O’Donoghue added his voice to the call for a clear Council business and jobs recovery plan.
“It is extremely frustrating that the Shire has a 'tin ear' to the voice of its local businesses", an exasperated Mr O'Donoghue said.
"To date, Council has done nothing for the hospitality and tourism industry in the five months we have been currently shut
down. Without a clear plan and decisive action to improve local business conditions, we'll end up with multiple businesses failing
and unemployment for youth going past twenty per cent.
"Please give us the plan for business recovery Mornington Peninsula Shire", pleaded Mr O'Donoghue.
Ms Smit added: “There are worldwide examples of how local authorities have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. One example is the Westminster council in London implemented a plan for al-fresco dining including pavement widening and temporary road closures for part of the day in popular London districts such as Chinatown, Covent Garden, Soho and Mayfair. If the Council responsible for Central London can come up with innovative solutions, surely so can our Council.”
How can you help?
The CfMP are encouraging the business community to contact their local Councillor/s demanding priority be given to a timely and workable recovery plan to support a 'road out' of the COVID-19 pandemic for the business community.
The community are also encouraged to contact their Local state MPs asking for the Mornington Peninsula to be included in the Andrews
Government Regional COVID-19 Recovery Plan to be released on Sunday.
To contact your local Councillor/s:
Red Hill Ward (Red Hill, Red Hill South, Main Ridge, Balnarring Beach, Somers, Merricks Beach, Merricks, Point Leo, Shoreham, Flinders, Cape Schanck, St Andrews Beach, Boneo, Fingal, Arthurs Seat, Balnarring, Merricks North and HMAS Cerberus)
Briars Ward (Mornington, Mount Eliza, Mount Martha)
Cerebus Ward (Tuerong, Bittern, Hastings, Crib Point)
Seawinds Ward (Safety Beach, Dromana, McCrae, Rosebud, Capel Sound)
Nepean Ward (Tootgarook, Rye, Blairgowrie, Sorrento, Portsea )
Watson Ward ( Baxter, Somerville, Tyabb, Moorooduc, Pearcedale)
To contact your local State MP:
Chris Brayne - Member for Nepean
David Morris - Member for Mornington
Neale Burgess- Member for Hastings
The Committee for Mornington Peninsula is disappointed that the Mornington Peninsula received just 0.09 per cent of the funding announced for our neighbours in greater Geelong in this year’s State Budget.
$424,000 of new funding was announced for the Mornington Peninsula whilst $463.43 million of new funding was announced for Greater Geelong, which has the same enrolled population as the Mornington Peninsula.
After extended and repeated metropolitan Melbourne lockdowns, the CfMP would have expected more support for our local businesses and public assets and services to help the Mornington Peninsula to recover, however no new funding was announced for our local hospitals, schools, TAFE, parks, roads or public transport services in this Budget.
Disappointingly, new taxes will be imposed on major employers on the Mornington Peninsula and our residential and commercial properties will be taxed at a higher rate as businesses and property owners attempt to recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19.
We remain hopeful that over the coming months, the Victorian Government will announce local funding initiatives for the Mornington Peninsula from the state-wide funding programs announced in this State Budget. Read More…
This unpredictability of government decision-making contributes to the general unease in the community about unforeseeable restrictions that
could be imposed upon Victorians at any moment.
The lack of a clear and consistent approach to reopening and locking down Victorian communities erodes business and consumer confidence to plan, resulting in damaging effects to local economies, community mental health outcomes and the reputation of Victoria as the place to be. Read More…
Victorian members of the Committees for Cities and Regions are calling on the Victorian Government to actively consult with the community to
develop a long-term Covid readiness plan for Victorian cities and regions.
As Victoria faces another long weekend under lockdown-style conditions, the Committees are calling for a common set of publicly available and industry-informed standards to be applied to decision-making on Covid restrictions in Victoria. Read More…