Mayor Wendy Waller and Labor Councillor Nathan Hagarty have called an Extraordinary Meeting of Council to approve much needed Business Resilience Grants for Liverpool businesses.
A motion was brought before last Wednesday's council meeting which would have seen quick access to Business Resilience Grants of up to $5,000 provided to small business experiencing financial stress due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in Liverpool.
The Extraordinary Meeting, to be held Tuesday, June 9, comes in response to a decision by Liberal and Community Independent Councillors to delay the approval of grants.
Liberal Party and Independent Councillors formed a block to delay the economic stimulus for Liverpool's small businesses.
Cr Waller said she voted against stalling the funds because the council had already resolved to fund assistance to businesses in the local area.
"Council had made a promise to get these important grants out to local businesses and get them out quick. Let's fulfil that promise," she said.
Council resolved at its May meeting for Councillors to approve the grants at monthly Council meetings, potentially delaying payment of the grants by up to 6 weeks.
Cr Tina Ayyad said she was not comfortable with the $5000 grants going out to businesses when restrictions had already been eased and some businesses were opening again.
"The federal and state government have already put things in place to help local businesses and I feel what we as a council are already doing is adequate to help local business," she said.
But Cr Waller said Liverpool businesses couldn't be waiting weeks and months for these critically important funds.
"These grants need to be approved as soon as is practical," she said.
Councillor Nathan Hagarty proposed an alternative motion which would have seen applications for the much-needed funds approved in a matter of days.
"Local businesses are doing it tough and they're looking to council to step up, take the lead and fight for them. There's a long recovery ahead, let's get on with it" Councillor Hagarty said.
The following Councillors voted to delay the grants:
- Tina Ayyad - Liberal (Mover)
- Gus Balloot - Liberal (Seconder)
- Tony Hadchiti - Liberal
- Mazhar Hadid - Liberal
- Peter Harle - Liverpool Community Independents Team
- Karress Rhodes - Liverpool Community Independents Team