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Calls for urgent 'road out' plan to support for Peninsula businesses 'on the brink.'

The Committee for Mornington Peninsula (CfMP) is urging the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council make a roadmap for economic recovery their top priority as many local businesses report being 'on the brink' as a result of COVID-pandemic containment restrictions.

The local 'think tank' has heard how the benefits of modest Council relief measures do not represent a clear 'road out' for the local economic and the many business struggling to survive in the retail, hospitality, visitor and leisure industries are desperately awaiting a clear plan from the Shire about how it aims to support a reboot of the local economy and local businesses once current COVID-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

President for the CfMP, Shannon Smit said “With the Premier due to release plans for lifting of restrictions for both metropolitan and regional Victoria on Sunday, the Mornington Peninsula needs a local government plan that is timely and workable. I would urge the current Councillors to ensure this piece of work is done prior to the Council entering caretaker mode for the upcoming election "Ms Smit said.  

"Our research points to many hospitality and retail businesses being on the brink and in desperate need of hope and a road out of the current punishing business conditions on the Peninsula.

 "We have proposed the activation of public spaces to support restaurants and cafes, creating a COVID-19 Business Response and Recovery Taskforce to provide advice and assistance and for Council to support the business community with streamlined permit processes and fee reductions. Hearing that the Council has some of its own ideas is encouraging, but we have not seen a willing embrace of employer and business community input.

We are just days out from restrictions potentially being lifted, with no sign of a clear plan from the MPS  that gives our job-creators some hope and certainty that the Council has them front-of-mind and is going to assist them. "

"Summer is around the corner and the CfMP is concerned that with no plan in place, Mornington Peninsula businesses are going to miss out on key opportunities in the recovery phase. A handbrake on summer trade and missed opportunities to commence recovery will mean many great Mornington Peninsula Businesses will not survive”, Ms Smit said.

 The CfMP point to great examples of the work other Councils are doing and have been doing in this space since the COVID-19 Pandemic occurred including:

  • COVID-29 business support grant programs for businesses 
  • Inviting local businesses to be involved in roundtables and similar to formulate strategies to respond to COVID-19
  • Compliance and enforcement action prioritised to issues of public and environmental safety risk during COVID-19 response and recovery
  • activating local shopping centres through COVID outdoor dining including parklets being installed throughout the City to create spaces for pedestrian activity and including seating, dining areas, greenery and bike parking
  • payment deferrals for quarterly rate payments 
  • fees for amendments to planning applications being waived 
  • local shopping centre ‘Buy local' and 'Activation' campaigns
  • improving access to local shopping centres through investment in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure

CfMP Member and owner of Green Olive at Red Hill, Greg O’Donoghue added his voice to the call for a clear Council business and jobs recovery plan.

 “It is extremely frustrating that the Shire has a 'tin ear' to the voice of its local businesses", an exasperated Mr O'Donoghue said.

 "To date, Council has done nothing for the hospitality and tourism industry in the five months we have been currently shut down.  Without a clear plan and decisive action to improve local business conditions, we'll end up with multiple businesses failing and unemployment for youth going past twenty per cent. 
"Please give us the plan for business recovery Mornington Peninsula Shire", pleaded Mr O'Donoghue.

Ms Smit added: “There are worldwide examples of how local authorities have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. One example is the Westminster council in London implemented a plan for al-fresco dining including pavement widening and temporary road closures for part of the day in popular London districts such as Chinatown, Covent Garden, Soho and Mayfair. If the Council responsible for Central London can come up with innovative solutions, surely so can our Council.”

 How can you help?

The CfMP are encouraging the business community to contact their local Councillor/s demanding priority be given to a timely and workable recovery plan to support a 'road out' of the COVID-19 pandemic for the business community. 

 The community are also encouraged to contact their Local state MPs asking for the Mornington Peninsula to be included in the Andrews Government Regional COVID-19 Recovery Plan to be released on Sunday.

To contact your local Councillor/s:

Red Hill Ward (Red Hill, Red Hill South, Main Ridge, Balnarring Beach, Somers, Merricks Beach, Merricks, Point Leo, Shoreham, Flinders, Cape Schanck, St Andrews Beach, Boneo, Fingal, Arthurs Seat, Balnarring, Merricks North and HMAS Cerberus)

Councillor David Gill
Telephone: 0437 129 016

Briars Ward (Mornington, Mount Eliza, Mount Martha)

Councillor Sam Hearn
Telephone: 0437 170 083

Councillor Rosie Clark
Telephone: 0437 152 991  

Councillor Bev Colomb
Telephone: 0418 506 638

Cerebus Ward (Tuerong, Bittern, Hastings, Crib Point)

Councillor Kate Roper 
Telephone: 0437 134 168

Seawinds Ward (Safety Beach,  Dromana, McCrae, Rosebud, Capel Sound)

Councillor Simon Brooks
Telephone: 0437 174 486  

Councillor Antonella Celi
Telephone: 0408 974 143

Councillor Frank Martin
Telephone: 0437 153 578

Nepean Ward (Tootgarook, Rye, Blairgowrie, Sorrento, Portsea )

Councillor Hugh Fraser
Telephone: 0428 258 354

Councillor Bryan Payne
Telephone: 0437 193 039

Watson Ward ( Baxter, Somerville, Tyabb, Moorooduc, Pearcedale)

Councillor Julie Morris
Telephone: 0437 156 531

To contact your local State MP:

 Chris Brayne - Member for Nepean

David Morris - Member for Mornington

Neale Burgess- Member for Hastings