Listen to the full interview by clicking the play button above
With $11.8 million allocated by Darebin City Council to COVID-19 relief operations, Darebin Mayor, Cr. Susan Rennie, spoke with CMR’s Charles Pakana about how that money was reaching community and being allocated during the pandemic.
“One of the big ones is significantly increasing funding to emergency relief services to ensure that every family and every household has access to food during this difficult time,” Cr. Rennie said.
Through local agencies, that funding is seeing about 500 households throughout Darebin with weekly food relief. In addition, a further six staff members have been employed by Council to support its emergency relief services.
To provide community members with access to the range of services that have been deployed in response to COVID-19 restrictions and other resulting hardships, the Council has introduced a Community Navigation Service.
“It’s like a one-stop shop for anyone in the Darebin community who needs support with COVID-related matters or more broadly,” Cr. Rennie told CMR.
To access the Service, community members can call (03) 8470 8888.
Local Businesses Never Forgotten
In response to the dire challenges facing local businesses, Cr. Rennie went on to say that Council has allocated $1 million in small business grants.
“This is the biggest grant program Darebin has ever put together,” she said. “We’ve already given out half-a-million dollars in grants and other grant round is currently underway for another half-million.”
With money under the grant scheme already being put to use by hundreds of local businesses, Cr. Rennie explained that it has resulted in businesses developing websites, creative hubs for local designers, and assisting businesses in other ways to “…pivot and stay viable in this very difficult time.”
Ratepayers also have been embraced within the Council’s COVID-19 relief operations, with a specific hardship policy enabling ratepayers to defer their payments until June 2021 without penalties being applied.
To access the Darebin City Council’s COVID-19 recovery package:
Call (03) 8470 8888