Council endorses COVID-19 community support

Published on 10 August 2021


Council has endorsed a new financial hardship policy and reduced or waived $1 million worth of fees for local businesses, community groups and individuals doing it tough due to COVID-19.

The measures are part of a $10 million package of spending and support included in our 2021-22 Budget, aimed at helping the Peninsula recover from the effects of the pandemic. Council endorsed the package at its meeting on July 27.
Selected fees and charges have been waived or reduced across the areas of hospitality, events, live entertainment, the arts and sport – areas hardest hit by COVID restrictions.
The fee reductions are as follows:

  • Hospitality – footpath trading – 100% reduction
  • Events and live entertainment – busking permits, Place of Public Entertainment (POPE) fees, events fees and charges – 100% reduction
  • The arts - artists in residence Police Point – 50% reduction
  • Sports club lease and licenses – 50% reduction
  • 40 child swimming lessons for families experiencing financial hardship – 100% reduction

 Fee waivers or reductions will be automatically applied in most cases.
In addition, a new General Financial Hardship Policy has been introduced for anyone in the community struggling to pay other types of Council fees and charges, excluding rates, rent, fines and planning/construction fees. This is in addition to the existing hardship policy for those struggling to pay Council rates.
The new hardship policy will be supported by a special fund, which has been set aside to enable these other types of fees and charges to be waived or reduced for those suffering financial hardship.
Two new appointments have also been made to help our community deal with the financial impacts of COVID-19.
A new hardship outreach officer will work with local businesses and community groups and help them apply for this additional support.  A new events officer will give individual support to community groups and new event organisers and help them through the application process.
Other COVID recovery measures in the $10 million budget package endorsed by Council include:

  • $650,000 to re-establish outdoor dining during the warmer months
  • a $2.2 million community grants program
  • $500,000 to fast track priority Climate Emergency actions
  •  $490,000 to progress construction of the Peninsula Trail shared path.

 The full list is available at
 Comments attributed to Mayor Despi O’Connor:
 “We are seriously committed to helping our community recover from COVID. We know the pandemic hit the Mornington Peninsula’s economy more severely than most other parts of Australia. At its peak last year, 2,205 jobs were lost and 59 per cent of our businesses were on JobKeeper, the highest rate in Victoria and third highest in the nation.”
“We’re not out of the woods yet. This $10 million package will provide tangible financial support to some of the hardest hit sectors of our community and help our economy bounce back and become more resilient.”

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