Douglas Shire Council has adopted further measures to help local businesses as economic predictions reveal the Gross Regional Product could decline by 25.3% this quarter due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.
Economic advisory firm, ID. Consulting Pty Ltd forecast that the region could lose up to 12.7% of local jobs by the end of June this year. This equates to a loss of 828 jobs and $185 million from the local economy since June 2019. Including Jobkeeper recipients, the expected loss of employment is 23.7%, or 1,547 jobs.
Yesterday Council formalised further initiatives to support the local economy. Measures include strengthening the local weighting in its procurement policy.
“By partnering with a local consulting business, Council is able to roll out a webinar series to help businesses get back on track and gain more skills to help navigate through COVID-19. The strengthening of our procurement policy will also give local businesses the best opportunity to benefit from the significant local investment Council makes every year.”Mayor Michael Kerr
Summary of initiatives adopted in May 2020:
✔︎ Economic Recovery Community Webinar ($9,600)
✔︎ Increasing the weighting for local suppliers from 10% to 20%
✔︎ Waive the Backflow Registration charges for 1 April – 30 June 2020
✔︎ Waive the Daintree Ferry charges for buses from 18 March – 30 June 2020
✔︎ Waive the Daintree Ferry charges for all vehicles from 8 April 2020 – 30 June 2020
✔︎ Extend the Daintree Ferry Multi-Day passes to be valid until 31 December 2020 (previously expiring 30 June 2020)
Earlier measures announced:
✔︎ Buy Douglas Build Douglas campaign.
✔︎ Recruitment of a Tourism and Economic Development Officer
✔︎ Waive interest on rates and water – until 30 June 2020
✔︎ Remove rates dishonour admin fees – until 30 June 2020
✔︎ Pensioner remission application dates extended to 30 June 2020
✔︎ Credit or refund all outdoor dining fees – until 30 June 2020
✔︎ Refund all venue hire fees were cancelled due to Covid-19
✔︎ Rent relief for Council commercial tenants suffering hardship. This is defined by eligibility for the Jobkeeper program and excludes peppercorn leases and Government entities.
✔︎ Wonga Beach Caravan Park income relief until 30 June 2020
Douglas Shire Council will consider further measures during the preparation of the 2020/2021 Annual Budget.