A RAFT of relief measures has been deployed to keep Mackay region businesses afloat during the coronavirus pandemic.

Business fees and licensing have been waived, rates bills delayed, and free CBD parking introduced in an emergency package that will cost Mackay Regional Council several million dollars.

Mayor Greg Williamson said the business support response was likely to be the first of many concessions to help the community pull through the coronavirus crisis.

"We were hit really hard this week," he said.

"We know that a lot of people will be hurting."

The council's announcement could be a critical lifeline for businesses in the next financial year, council CEO Craig Doyle said.

For some businesses the savings could mean an extra $100 in their pocket, for others the removal of the waste levy could mean thousands in savings, Mr Doyle said.

"These are the forward costs businesses would have to pay," he said.

"It's some relief on that cost base."

Mr Doyle said businesses would need to prove they had been financially impacted by the virus.


Alongside business concessions, council will extend the due date for the September 2020 rates by three months.

Cr Williamson also foreshadowed possible further rates concessions in stage two.

But there would be no relief in this package for those facing this year's charges.

"Most people have paid their fees and rates for this financial year," Mr Doyle said.

"Bills outstanding still need to be paid."

Mr Doyle said repayment plans were already available.

Cr Williamson was clear the relief package would hit the council's bottom line.

But Cr Williamson said Mackay was not "Robinson Crusoe", with most local governments facing similar budgetary dilemmas.

"Every council is under the pump," he said.

Council will contact the State Government for additional support.

INITIAL: MACKAY Regional Council is preparing to make an announcement to cast a lifeline for businesses struggling under the coronavirus pandemic.

Mayor Greg Williamson and council CEO Craig Doyle are expected to detail stage one of business support measures later this morning.

The business support measures come as shops, venues and businesses close their doors in response to increasing restrictions of people's movement.

Earlier this week devastating scenes played out at the North Mackay Centrelink offices, as hundreds of out of work residents lined up following mass job cuts across the region.

Cr Williamson is also expected to update the community on behalf of the Local Disaster Management Group.



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