Local Business Update
It’s been an interesting few months since we last wrote about the impact of the Christmas lockdown on the local economy (in our beloved Tawny Frogmouth Magazine.) At the Manly Business Chamber, we’ve been reflecting on the benefits of support given to businesses, with particular reference to our own home ground, Manly and the Northern Beaches. Once we started adding them up, we were surprised at how strong and significant the response has been. Following are some of the highlights over a dark 12 months.
Effective support from Northern Beaches Council, with over $2 million waived from outdoor dining fees, several million in waivers from inspection fees (food and fire safety) and the impressive implementation of signage to enable more quick turn-around parking in the local CBDs. Restaurants and cafes who were able to pivot and deliver take-aways needed immediate support for their clientele and Council offered a quick response. Council also provided access to better outdoor dining, and a unique Business Support Service - accessed by calling 1300 434 434 or booking online at northernbeaches.com.au - this enables business owners to have a single contact in council for advice.
Immediate action from State Government through our local representative MP James Griffin who set up The Economic Recovery Taskforce for Manly which was recognised by the Premier Gladys Berejiklian and created initiatives which have been used State-wide. Meetings with Ministers have yielded support though Dine & Discover and the Hardship Grants. The hardship grants are to be accessed in late April and provide $3k and $5k grants to business for basics like rent and staff costs. Disappointingly, these are taking a long time to be delivered through the highly stressed Service NSW division of government, but we have been promised they’re on their way. The Small Business Commission has continued to offer its mediation service for tenants and landlords, yielding excellent results.
Local, State and Federal government support packages, including Job Keeper, a covid supplement to the Jobseeker and income support payments, home builder grant and most recently the $24 million for Destination NSW for a live Music Support Package will encourage a thriving economy.
Manly has benefited through the addition of Market Lane Live, a new initiative run by our own local entrepreneur Matt Clifton. The beautification of Rialto Lane and additional furniture pods in Whistler Street, Darley Road and the Corso are encouraging both visitors and locals to enjoy the wide range of local eateries.
The Northern Beaches was one of the first regions to have access to the Dine & Discover vouchers with the State Government donating $100 per person. Please use these locally and use them or lose them by 30 June 2021.
Finally, $1500 small business fees and charges rebate – designed to help small businesses pay for fees and charges, such as licences, council rates, and registration fees. It is a new rebate first announced as part of last year’s NSW budget, but will kick in from early April this year. Eligibility criteria and guidelines on the Service NSW website.
There is a lot to be grateful for, although I understand that these grants don’t help everyone. I recognise this has been a unique experience for all, we’ve heard tragic stories and amazingly successful outcomes.
At Manly Business Chamber, we keep up with all possible opportunities for local businesses, do everything possible to always be heard and speak to government and ensure we’re advocating to the right people at the right time. I’m so proud of the work done by the committee and our excellent executive officers, Chantelle Hoare and Monique Eggeling. Please support us so that we can continue to support you. Join at manly.org.au