Southern Peninsula News 31 March 2020

Page 7

Crisis backing for business Stephen Taylor MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire has stepped in to assist small business by developing a support package to “help the local community through the unprecedented effects of COVID-19”. The package includes a business concierge service, supporting local business campaign, advocacy to state and federal departments, fast tracking of approvals and compliance matters, temporary cessation of fees and charges, support for local contractors and rate and rent relief options for those in council properties. The package comes a week after the Committee for Mornington Peninsula began lobbying the shire to provide a “support package for local business” as the coronavirus disaster hits their bottom lines. At the same time, Mornington Chamber of Commerce, representing Main Street traders, pleaded with all levels of government, financial institutions – and especially landlords – to show leniency on loan repayments and rents in the wake of plummeting trade. Mornington Peninsula Shire mayor Cr Sam Hearn said the COVID-19 pandemic was having a major impact on many local businesses. “While council acknowledges that the predominant source of funding and support for the economy is at the state and federal level, there are many actions

we can take to support our businesses in light of the fast-changing environment and impacts at a local level,” he said. “Some of these support measures will immediately put up to $500,000 back into the business community. Others, such as speeding up payments to our suppliers and contractors, will inject money into the local economy sooner, assisting with the cash flow, general business liquidity and the ability to keep people employed.” The mayor said the package “strikes the right balance of fairness, responsibility, relief and compassion so that we can get through these unprecedented challenges together.” Committee for Mornington Peninsula chairman and former small business minister Bruce Billson said his committee was “really positive about what the shire is doing”. “It really shows that our thinking is aligned,” he said. “We will continue to contribute to the shire’s thinking on how to support local business.” Mr Billson said discussions with the mayor and CEO John Baker had been “encouraging”. Key pillars of this package include: A central contact point at the shire to assist businesses navigate through information, permit and registration processes. Call 5950 1000 or 1300 850 600 or email business@mornpen.vic. Continued Page 9

Picture: Gary Sissons

Blind golfers to the fore BLIND golfer Jeff Ellis got some handy tips on lining up his shot from caddy Esther McArdle at the Victorian Blind Golf Open. Both are members of Rosebud Country Club where the event has been played over the past 30 years. Ellis, captain of Blind Golf Victoria, was one of the players at the inaugural event, while McArdle is the club’s volunteer coordinator. The top blind golfers from around Australia competed in the 36-hole stableford event in mid-March, followed

by the ISPS Handa Australian Blind Golf 36-hole stroke tournament, 29-30 March. They included Mark Eschbank, winner of the 2019 ISPS Hand Japan Blind Golf Open and Michele Watts, current Lady World Blind Golf Champion. The winner was Graham Coulton, of Sydney, with help from caddy Sue Carpenter. After 15 years together they are a “well-oiled partnership”, organiser Michele Watts said. Coulton, a long time competitor, shot 71 and 72 net off a handicap of 43.

Former Victorian Blind Golf president David Blyth played in the tournament that he established 30 years ago, claiming it as “the longest running sporting event held in the same location in Australia”. Club members volunteer as caddies, spotters and referees. Tournament referee Arthur Scott has held the position since the beginning and led a volunteer team of about 300 in 2014 when Rosebud hosted the World Blind Golf Championships. Stephen Taylor


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