Mayor calls for economic assistance for businesses affected by water restrictions

Businesses across Regional NSW have been dealt a financial blow by tightening water restrictions and will require financial assistance to continue, Mayor of the Dubbo Region Ben Shields has said.

Turf farms, landscape gardeners, nurseries, pool shops, irrigation specialists and many others have seen their income drop dramatically as the impacts of the drought and a shrinking water supply hit hard.

Councillor Shields will table a Mayoral Minute at the Ordinary meeting of Council on 4 November, 2019, calling for State and Federal Government assistance.

“Multiple people, from sole traders, to larger businesses are reporting to me that their business is significantly down because of water restrictions,” Clr Shields said.

“Locals are not buying turf, people are reluctant to get gardening done, households are not using their pools and irrigation for lawns are certainly restricted.  This is a huge burden for people whose businesses relate to water usage.

If the Mayoral Minute is endorsed, formal representation will be made to the State and Federal Governments about the need for financial assistance to businesses directly affected by water restrictions.

Clr Shields said the restrictions were essential to protect the region’s water supply to get through the ongoing drought but said businesses would need assistance to survive.

“We must remember that town-based businesses can suffer as much as a farm during a drought. It would be a wise move by the Federal and State Governments to look at ways they can bring financial relief to businesses,” Clr Shields said.

“Dubbo is home to a large amount of businesses that rely on water. Keeping people employed and business open is essential so that when the drought breaks these people will still be around to continue their contribution to the economy.

“I will be raising this issue with appropriate state and federal ministers as a matter of urgency.”

In early October Clr Shields wrote to State and Federal politicians including Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Premier Gladys Berejiklian asking them to consider the reputational damage being done to regional cities and towns because of the drought, and asking them to plan for a post-drought recovery.

The Mayor said governments should look at providing additional funding to Evocities, Regional Development Australia and other organisations that promoted regional areas.

Last Edited: 06 Nov 2019

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