A LOCAL recovery group will monitor the impacts of COVID-19 and investigate ways to provide relief to businesses and residents in Douglas Shire.

The Douglas Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG) yesterday approved the development of the Local Recovery Group.

The group will include two committees – Economic Recovery Group; and Social and Human Recovery Group – with the view of providing a safety net for people impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Douglas Shire Council will provide immediate relief to ratepayers by freezing interest on rates and working on further relief packages after the 2020 Local Government Elections.

Council’s Chief Executive Officer Mark Stoermer, who will chair the Economic Recovery Group, said they would discuss further measures that complement existing relief packages released by the Federal and State governments.

“We want to give the community assurance that we are here for you,” he said.

“While we have no case locally in Douglas Shire yet, we are already seeing a real impact of COVID-19 through strict, but necessary social distancing measures.

“These recovery groups will have us well placed to take care of our residents and business sector.

“I want to commend the many local businesses, particularly in Port Douglas, who have adapted appropriately by offering takeaway and delivery services.”

Council is supporting local food businesses looking for alternative ways to continue operating during the current restrictions on businesses, as well as providing an important service to the community in social isolation.

The Douglas Chamber of Commerce, Tourism Port Douglas Daintree and other key stakeholders will be invited.

Recovery Group coordinator Terry Farrelly encouraged residents to look out for their loved ones and vulnerable members of the community.

“Reach out to your neighbours and check in on your fellow community members from time to time to offer support, shopping or a listening ear.,” he said.

“Now more than ever is time to support your community by buying local, getting a take away meal from our many cafés and restaurants, supporting local businesses, retail outlets, hairdressers, buying local art and craft or volunteering your time to our many community and sporting groups.”

Support for impacted business and individuals

Businesses

For employers:

If you employ staff, you may be eligible for:

  • Temporary cash flow support
  • Assistance to help pay the wages of apprentices or trainees

For sole traders:

If you’re a sole trader and do not employ any staff you are eligible for:

  • The increased instant asset write-off
  • Backing Business Investment (BBI)
  • Increased and accelerated income support
  • Assistance for affected regions, communities and industries
  • SME Guarantee Scheme
  • Early access to superannuation
  • Tax support

For companies:

If you run a company and do not employ any staff you are eligible for:

  • Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses
  • The increased instant asset write-off
  • Accelerated depreciation deduction arrangements
  • Increased and accelerated income support
  • Assistance for affected regions, communities and industries
  • Tax support
  • SME Guarantee Scheme
Information & Support for Business

Payroll Tax Relief:

If your business has been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19), you may be able to apply for a relief package to defer paying payroll tax returns until 31 July 2020.

Payroll Tax Relief Information

Individuals

For casual employees

  • If you employ a casual employee and they can’t work because they become sick or need to self-isolate, or their income has been otherwise impacted by the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus, they may be eligible for income support payments.

If you’ve lost your job suddenly because of Coronavirus, you or your family may be entitled to assistance.

COVID-19 Supplement Information