Cairns Regional Council will bring forward $2.5 million in maintenance works planned for the 2020/21 financial year as part of a support package to cushion the COVID-19 blow.
Mayor Bob Manning said the council had moved quickly to do what it could to support the community in this challenging time.
“There’s no doubt that businesses in Cairns are doing it tough right now. And that has a trickle down impact on everyone in our community,” he said.
“These initiatives will immediately put more money into our economy and generate employment. We need to keep businesses open and people in work if we are to weather this unprecedented global event.”
Measures announced today:
Outdoor maintenance stimulus package: The council will bring forward $2.5 million in maintenance works such as tree maintenance, kerb and channel repairs, pressure cleaning of footpaths, maintenance of barbecues and other infrastructure in parks, will be completed by contractors and agency staff, generating employment. Works will be completed between April and June.
Commercial rent: Businesses operating from council premises, such as the School of Arts building, the Cairns Esplanade, Cairns Botanic Gardens and swimming pools, will have a 50 per cent reduction in rent for March through to the end of the financial year.
Fees and charges: All outdoor dining fees will be waived from April through to the end of the financial year. Other business fees, such as water and trade waste usage, will be deferred for three months from the date of issue. All new invoices will be issued with the extended due date. For existing invoices, businesses should add three months to the payment deadline.
Water bills: Residents and businesses will have an additional three months to pay their current water bills. All new water bills will be issued with the extended due date.
The latest measures follow an initial suite of support initiatives approved by the council in February, which included extension of payment deadlines for rates to May 27 and fast-tracking council funding for the tourism and international education sectors.
The council is also supporting the ‘Keep it in Cairns’ buy-local campaign being coordinated by the Cairns Chamber of Commerce.