By Claire Ottaviano
LOCAL business owners turned out to the Shire of Mundaring’s special council meeting on Wednesday to support a proposed grant funding initiative for Mundaring businesses, after deferral of the item last week sparked concern.
At last week’s meeting, the council adopted a one-year relief and recovery budget, which included $700,000 for community and economic relief measures and rates relief for commercial and industrial businesses, but deferred the relief and recovery fund.
The $232,500 fund enables businesses to apply for a series of grants between $500 and upwards of $10,000.
It was questioned at the previous week’s meeting if it was the responsibility of Local Government to provide funding for local business when there were existing State and Federal funding initiatives.
Deferring the item for more information split the council 6/5.
Parkerville Tavern owner T’Anne Mills presented to council to argue the importance of local business.
“Money invested in business will be spent three or four times within the local economy, it does not disappear into a black hold never to be seen again,” she said.
“There was some discussion at the last Council meeting about the State and Federal funding available.
“They sound substantial when taken all together but if you speak to most business owners you will find the reality of what they can access is meagre.”
Evergreen Consultancy owner Francesca Flynn told the Council she was not eligible for State or Federal Funding.
“I want to emphasize the importance of the Shire’s role and responsibility in driving the economic recovery of Mundaring,” she said.
“My business, like hundreds of others in the Shire, was not eligible for any State or Federal stimulus packages or grants.
“We are struggling and we need assistance, not just community groups or volunteer organisations but businesses and sole traders who haven’t met the criteria of support packages and have slipped through the net.”
There was concern from some councillors regarding the need for $500 grant applicants to prove they provided benefits to the broader community.
Despite concerns the motion was supported unanimously.
“Businesses don’t just employ people they don’t just provide a product and a service,” Cr Amy Collins said.
“As our small business start to close up we lose part of the fabric of our community.
“We lose that spark of having unique and different businesses that make us attractive for tourists.
“Then not only do we have to recover businesses but we have to get our community back on board and change their habits back to using local.”
There are four types of grants in the Recover Together fund, the Restart Grant up to $500, the Reconnect Grant up to $2500, the Rebuild Grant up to $10,000 and the Resilience Grant for $10,000 and above.