$1.66 million Business Support Plan Approved

Last modified on 31 March 2020


Willoughby City Council’s Business Support Plan, worth up to $1.66 million over six months, was approved at an extraordinary meeting last night.

It offers relief on rents, fees and penalties to help support local businesses and community groups through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Business Support Plan includes:

  • Rent relief for Council’s restaurants and cafes tenants totalling $573,000 over six months.
  • Waiving licences and fees for sporting organisations for up to six months, saving them $600,000.
  • Relaxing some infringements that don’t impact on health or safety (eg overstaying a parking meter), valued around $55,000
  • Fee concessions for 6 months equating to about $435,000, including:
    • waiving some environmental health inspection fees (but not those that directly relate to food hygiene), fire safety fees, footway dining and advertising fees
    • 50% fee reduction for Chatswood Mall Market stallholders

Mayor Gail Giles-Gidney said the Business Support Plan was flexible so it can be revisited if there are further health orders, or benefit from other government assistance.

“We’re in tough times so we moved quickly to create a plan with maximum financial benefit to offset those impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak while ensuring continuation of critical functions and health and safety,” Mayor Giles-Gidney said.

“We recognise the deep and long term impacts of COVID-19 on local small businesses and the flow-on effects to our community.

“A report outlining what we are doing for vulnerable members in our community was also presented to Council.”

To ensure agility and to respond more quickly, the Mayor and Chief Executive Officer were delegated joint authority to make changes to the Business Support Plan as needed.

Councillors also a considered a financial strategy to understand the impacts on Willoughby City Council’s bottom line and manage risk, while supporting the community and maintaining major projects.

The full meeting minutes will be available on our website from Friday.

Who’s eligible?

Rent relief: Small businesses in council-owned premises who run a food business (eg café, restaurant) – Businesses that believe they comply will need to formally seek an amendment to their lease by writing to Council. Email us with details of your request at email@willoughby.nsw.gov.au, and use the subject ‘Rent Business Support’.

Rent relief: Not for profits operating in Council-owned facilities. Not for profits who believe they are eligible are asked to make a written submission to Council.Email us with details of your request at email@willoughby.nsw.gov.au, and use the subject ‘Rent Business Support’.

Licences and Fees: Sporting organisations who normally pay licences and fees to council eg sports field fees. Council will automatically address these fees through its present lease and licence arrangements

Fee concessions: Any business who normally pays a fee to council for environmental health inspections, fire safety inspections, footway dining and advertising. Charging for all footway dining licences has already stopped. 

Fee concessions: Any stall holder in Chatswood Mall Market - 50% reduction in fees