The City of Ballarat has signed the state government's Small Business Friendly Council Charter, promising to improve dealings with small businesses and cut red tape.
The charter ensures council must pay small businesses for services within 30 days, streamline approvals processes, and support small businesses during disruptive infrastructure works.
State Small Business Minister Jaala Pulford signed the document with City of Ballarat mayor Ben Taylor.
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She said there were about 8500 businesses in Ballarat that could benefit.
"Even in the best of times - like in the relatively happy times of the middle of last year - this is something that can be very beneficial for supporting small businesses," she said.
"This is no longer something nice to do, this is something that we must do."
Commerce Ballarat's chief executive Jodie Gillett echoed this - the coronavirus has hit regional small businesses particularly hard, especially in towns reliant on tourism.
"One of the pleasing aspects we've seen in recent times has been the swiftness of government, of all levels, to be there to support business," she said.
"They need all the support they can get - they need to get paid quickly, they need to lessen the workload behind the scenes.
"It might not be so much about growing jobs, it's now about surviving 2020."
According to a state government media release, council has also completed the Government's Better Approvals Project to drive changes to the permit approvals process - saving small businesses time, money and stress when starting or expanding. This initiative has delivered a 73 per cent reduction in average approval times on multiple permit applications across the state.
Cr Taylor said council would act like a "concierge" for people starting a business, helping to lay out requirements and speeding up approvals.
"We want to encourage small businesses to grow - even though they are the backbone of the economy, those small businesses can then merge into medium businesses, and maybe large businesses, and become really anchored here in Ballarat and provide so much economic benefit to the city," he said.
Chair of the Small Business Ministerial Council, Stuart Benjamin, said he was proud to see his home town sign the charter, and noted 97 per cent of jobs created in Victoria come from small businesses.
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"It was terrific when Janet Dore became (City of Ballarat) CEO, and one of the things she did was reach out to the small business community and say how can we get rid of red tape and increase investment in our city?" he said.
"At the moment, anything we can do to support small business to survive and ultimately to thrive is appreciated - red tape is one of the most frustrating things a business has to deal with (and) its removal, and the fast tracking of permits, is a welcome announcement.
"Significantly, council committing to paying small businesses with shorter lead times means faster payment processes for businesses, which means money in the account, and more money in the economy."
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