Council community support packages

Community support packages assist some of the city’s most vulnerable residents, as well as small businesses who may be struggling from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the global pandemic, Council has released four Community Support Packages.

Community Support Package 4 (current)

Council’s fourth Community Support Package provides targeted relief to our community most in need.

A Community Support Package Focus Group, representing a cross section of the community, was instrumental in helping shape a meaningful and responsive package. 

The package encompasses $1.35 million in targeted rate reductions including interest-free rate deferrals and, interest and rate waivers, which will be guided by Council’s Financial Hardship Policy. 

To apply for financial hardship for your home, business, sporting club/association or community group, visit the financial assistance webpage.

Community support worth $650,000 is also included targeting groups that we know are deeply impacted by the pandemic:

Business

98 per cent of Hobsons Bay’s 8,150 businesses are small businesses with less than 20 employees, with businesses across the municipality impacted by the pandemic in different ways. An allocation of $162,500 has been identified for further targeted activities to support recovery for local businesses hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. The format will be developed in consultation with local businesses and the community but may include grants, business development initiatives and promotional opportunities.

 

Young people

The pandemic has resulted in the employment opportunities for young people substantially decreasing with youth employment climbing by 4 per cent to 18 per cent across the state during the second lockdown. Council will allocate $162,500 to fund activities focused on improving employment opportunities for Hobsons Bay’s young people, such as youth employment programs, internships, career development opportunities and upskilling.

 

Community Grants

The Make it Happen Hobsons Bay Recovery and Reconnection Grants program will be allocated $162,500 to support community groups or organisations to ‘make things happen’ through activities, projects, programs, events and resourcing across all sectors of Hobsons Bay. This program resulted in 68 projects funded in 2020-21 to support a range of sectors to recover and reconnect, including sporting clubs, community groups and agencies, arts and culture, events facilitators and environmental organisations.

 

The arts

Hobsons Bay is well known for its creative city status. With a strong creative industry presence and a wealth of arts and culture festivals, events, and venues, it’s estimated that 1,050 Hobsons Bay residents works in arts and recreation – an industry that saw 32 per cent of its jobs lost in September 2020 and roughly 25 per cent of those remaining employees accessing JobKeeper. To continue to support the industry, $162,500 is allocated in the budget for a program targeting local artists and creatives during the economic recovery phase, similar to last year’s popular Arts Apart grants.

 

For more information on Council's support packages or to discuss your needs, please contact Council via email at customerservice@hobsonsbay.vic.gov.au or Live Chat with a Customer Service officer via www.hobsonsbay.vic.gov.au

Previous Community Support Packages

Community Support Package 1

Boosts for small business and the local economy

The local economy, and especially the hospitality, retail and tourism sectors, are already feeling the impact of the global pandemic. Council will put measures in place to relieve some of the financial burden on the small businesses that operate within our community in this trying time.

  • Small business operators experiencing hardship can apply for a deferral on their rates payments to relieve their cash flow pressures.
  • Council is establishing a crisis support mentoring network for small businesses.
  • Council is waiving all paid parking in currently metered areas across Hobsons Bay for the next 90 days, active as of Monday 23 March. Time restrictions will still apply. 
  • Local businesses who are responding to the needs of the community by altering or extending their services will be publicised on the Hobsons Bay Business website, and social media channels.
  • Deliver online business engagement forums where possible.

Supporting our older and/or vulnerable communities

Council is maintaining regular contact with its existing clients to socially connect with them and carry out welfare checks. We are able to expand this offering to capture more isolated people who may be struggling in getting their basic needs met. If you know someone who is vulnerable and could use a boost of support, please contact Council on 9932 1000 or email us at customerservice@hobsonsbay.vic.gov.au 

  • Food Services will continue to deliver ‘meals on wheels’ to registered residents, combined with wellbeing checks and the provision of toilet paper for each client.
  • Eligible new clients wanting to apply for meal delivery services will be fast tracked.
  • Youth counselling will continue via an online/skype service model.

Promoting recreation and ways to maintain our personal wellbeing

The ability to connect with other people is gradually becoming more difficult as non-essential gatherings are cancelled, venues close and some residents need to self-isolate. Council will bolster alternative ways to provide activities, engage with programs and support people’s wellbeing. 

     A) Library services home deliveries and online collections / engagement

Although the libraries have shut their doors and we have cancelled face to face consultations and events, Council will deliver services a little differently, while still providing ongoing employment for our casual staff.  These measures include:

  • ‘Book a book’ library home delivery service.
  • Access to electronic books and phone service support.
  • Storytime at the Library presented LIVE on the Hobsons Bay Libraries Facebook page.
  • Increased sessions via Facebook live, Facebook Q&A and live chat rooms on Participate Hobsons Bay.
  • Deliver or support the promotion of online recreation and wellbeing classes where possible.

With library venues remaining closed, loan times have been extended, and return chutes will remain open. Library staff will be answering phones between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday to reset pins for online access, provide over the phone support for book borrowing, or to answer any other questions. Alternatively, customers can email library@hobsonsbay.vic.gov.au

     B) Parks and Open Space

We know that many local sporting clubs have also needed to close their doors, cease training and delay competitions.  Whether you are a member of a sporting club or simply an individual who likes a short walk, we want to encourage people to step out and enjoy some of our great open spaces, as long as the state and federal government guidelines of social distancing are followed.

Places like Newport Lakes, 100 Steps, the Hobsons Bay Coastal Trail, as well as our many shared trails, dog off lead parks and sporting fields are perfect spots for families to stretch their legs, get some fresh air and to connect with nature.  More information about Hobsons Bay parks and open spaces can be found at https://www.hobsonsbay.vic.gov.au/Community/Parks-Conservation

Also incorporated in the support package is consideration of our community’s wellbeing including alternative ways to deliver core services such as libraries and youth counselling and ways to connect or maintain our mental and physical wellbeing.

 

Community Support Package 2

The second Community Support Package focusses on further measures to alleviate financial pressure on local businesses, community groups and sporting clubs. It also supports some of our city’s most vulnerable community members and shines a light on the resilience of our Hobsons Bay community. 

Financial and network assistance for local businesses 

Our local businesses continue to be hit hard by the effects of the Coronavirus. With further business closures and shut downs of some non-essential services, Council has introduced a range of initiatives intended to help provide further relief to financial burden being experienced across the municipality.

  • Full rental rebate until 30 June 2020 for eligible business tenants paying rent in a Council-owned building
  • Refund of food premises registration fees already paid in the current financial year
  • Refund of outdoor trading permit fees already paid in the current financial year
  • Interest free deferral of the next two quarterly rates payments (May and September) for eligible local business (via the Hardship Policy)
  • Waiver of planning application fees for the next six months for new start-up businesses
  • Creation of online local business network forum as part of our Crisis Business Support Network to connect with each other and share government updates 
  • Establishment of a business roundtable comprising local professionals and traders, to advise Council of ongoing business support needs 

For more information on Council's support packages or to discuss your business needs, please contact the economic development team at business@hobsonsbay.vic.gov.au 

Sporting clubs and community groups support package

Many sporting clubs, recreational and community groups across the city won’t be up and running for some time. Council is providing some financial relief and support during this uncertain time.  

  • Full rental rebate until at least 30 June 2020 for eligible sporting groups, community groups and not for profit organisations paying rent in a Council-owned building
  • Waiver of winter ground allocation fees 
  • Financial assistance towards sporting club utility fees, eligibility applies
  • Online club development sessions 
  • Support with sporting club activation once restrictions are lifted and activities resume

Ongoing Support for our Vulnerable Communities

Council is aware of the significant impact the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is having on the Hobsons Bay community, especially on our more vulnerable community members. We have put measures in place to reach out to those residents who may need extra support during this particularly challenging time.

  • Identifying and supporting more vulnerable households within Hobsons Bay, while continuing outreach wellbeing checks and social support with existing clients via phone
  • Provision of emergency relief response referrals to external agencies and internal services 
  • Ongoing and increased access to immunisation services via an online booking system
  • Syringe disposal kits offered to eligible delivered meals and planned activity group (PAG) clients
  • Activity packs (exercise programs, craft etc.) distributed to PAG clients
  • Online new parent groups and virtual weekly playgroups
  • 'Play Kit' delivered to all Playgroup families while practising social distancing 
  • Resources and social support for navigating Coronavirus for young people and families

A reminder that last week, Council announced the below support measures and encourages the community to utilise these services.

  • Fast tracking of delivered ‘meals on wheels’ for eligible new clients while their registrations are being processed 
  • Youth mental health online counselling service
  • Maternal child health consultations delivered via phone and/or online platform

Hobsons Bay has Heart Facebook page 

The people of Hobsons Bay are invited to share stories of positivity, resilience, community spirit and kindness on a Hobsons Bay City Council Facebook page entitled Hobsons Bay has Heart. 

The ability to connect with other people has become more difficult. Council wants to support the Hobsons Bay community to keep connected by shining a light on community groups, individuals 

or businesses offering support or goodwill to their fellow community members. This could be through random acts of kindness, the provision of online learning or activities, or offers to volunteer or assist others.

Community members and businesses can post their messages, words, photos, videos or artwork directly to the Hobsons Bay has Heart Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/hobsonsbayhasheart/ or use the hashtag #hobsonsbayhasheart as a public post on Facebook or Instagram. 

Council will continue to find ways to support our community and we thank people for their feedback to date.

 

Community Support Package 3

Council's third Community Support Package focuses on financial relief for our local business, sporting groups and residents as well as community support services and newly developed community grants, to assist our city during these trying times. 

Financial and network assistance for local businesses 

With our local businesses still unable to operate at full capacity due to the pandemic and state government restrictions, Council has dedicated almost $2 million to business and economic recovery as part of Council’s third Community Support package, offering some relief to business owners across the municipality.

Council will waive the following permit fees for businesses within Hobsons Bay for 2020-21:

  • Food and health registrations will be waived
  • Footpath trading and planning permits fees will be waived
  • Commercial tenants in Council buildings will be provided rent relief
  • Financial assistance through the Financial Hardship Policy is available for business owners who can no longer pay their rates, interest, fees and charges
  • Grant funding of $250,000 will be available through Hobsons Bay Business Has Heart, along with access to communications, marketing and graphic design services for groups of businesses
  • A range of support, advice and business connection and networking platforms have been established for Hobsons Bay businesses
  • A comprehensive list of current grant opportunities for businesses are now available through Grant Finder
  • Council is partnering with the Small Business Mentoring Service to provide businesses with a free business mentoring session
  • Council is offering subsidies to upgrade lighting and install solar power as well as offering finance to help fund environmental upgrades

For more information on Council's support packages or to discuss your business needs, please contact the economic development team at business@hobsonsbay.vic.gov.au 

Support for our residents

The third community support package as outlined within the 2020-21 Budget, includes $2.2 million in rates relief, ongoing delivery of more than 100 vital community services, $3 million to boost our grants and community support packages and a revised Financial Hardship Policy. The budget also includes a $67.566 million Capital Works Program to strengthen our local economy, support jobs and provide infrastructure for our community. 

  • A $500,000 COVID-19 Recovery Grants Program has been developed
  • Programs to support local connections and celebration
  • Incentives to use Council venues including the Williamstown Town Hall and Altona Theatre
  • ‘Loan to own’ iPads program at the libraries
  • Financial assistance through the Financial Hardship Policy is available for residents which includes rate deferral through to waivers, dependent on the financial circumstances

For more information on Council's support packages or to discuss your needs, please contact Council via email at customerservice@hobsonsbay.vic.gov.au or Live Chat with a Customer Service officer via www.hobsonsbay.vic.gov.au

Sporting clubs and community groups support package

Due to the impacts of the pandemic and stage four state government restrictions, Council has dedicated over $150,000 to support Hobsons Bay sporting clubs as part of the third Community Support Package.

  • waiving of summer sports ground rentals
  • strategic planning support has been developed for sports clubs to resume training and competition
  • a sports pavilion cleaning program has been developed to prepare clubs for their return
  • sports ground rental waivers have been automatically waived
  • Food Safety and Health registrations have been waived
  • financial assistance through the Financial Hardship Policy or COVID-19 Financial Assistance Policy is available for business owners who can no longer pay their rates, interest, fees and charges
  • $500,000 worth of new grant programs will be released in coming weeks that many sporting clubs will be eligible for
  • Council provides a variety of services for sporting clubs through development workshops, opportunities, promotion, connection and advice

For more information on Council's support packages or to discuss your sporting club needs, please contact Callum Richards at crichards@hobsonsbay.vic.gov.au