Ballarat businesses and community groups will be able to apply for grants from Thursday after the City of Ballarat approved a $1 million support package at Wednesday night's council meeting.
Councillors voted unanimously to approve the Community and Business Support Package which was announced two weeks ago and also includes a range of additional support measures.
Businesses with a payroll less than $1 million will receive a $500 grant if they can show a 30 per cent reduction in income for a period of four weeks since May 27 as a result of the pandemic while community groups would receive $250 if they can demonstrate a negative financial impact since May 27.
Any interest on outstanding rates for the 2021-22 financial year will be waived, which is expected to save businesses and residents $175,000.
Council will continue to apply its financial hardship policy to businesses and residents throughout the 2021-22 financial year.
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A range of fees will be waived on food act registration, public health and wellbeing registration, outdoor dining permits and a-frame signage permits, estimated to save businesses $139,000.
Online applications for the grants opened on Thursday through council's website, requiring 100 points of identity and proof of reduced revenue through a business activity statement, letter from an accountant or statutory declaration.
Council will also re-establish its Business Contact Centre to help local businesses access federal, state and local funding programs.
Funding for the package will be provided from additional money found in council's year end result that was not spent in the last financial year due to the lack of events and other costs.
The Community and Business Support Program will be capped at $1 million exactly while another $309,000 will be allocated from the same source to cover the costs of the other support and relief measures.
Central ward councillor Belinda Coates said the targeted support would be important for businesses.
"What has been one of the really positive outcomes of the lockdown has been the level of community support that's been shown across the business sector themselves, so businesses supporting and really building each other up and promoting each other," she said.
"If there is any remote positive in what we've been through, that is hopefully one, that connection and real support of each other has come to the fore, the kindness and compassion and focus on how important it is to support your local businesses because if we don't support them, they may not always be there."
Mayor Daniel Moloney said councillors approached CEO Evan King to look into how council could support its businesses and community groups.
"We need to demonstrate how we can actually get behind our businesses and the response was really quick. I think the next day we had an outline of a plan and it got progressively more detailed and more strategic over the next few days," he said.
"We were quite keen to make sure we weren't forcing businesses to spend $500 to save $500 through accounting fees. This is to really, as much as possible, tap into some of the existing things businesses would be doing anyway to demonstrate to the federal and state governments that they are eligible grants."
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