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Economic Development Special Rate Scheme Discontinued

Bass Coast Shire Council voted to discontinue the Economic Development Special Rate Scheme

By Carol McCormack - 8th June 2001 - Back to News

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Bass Coast Shire Council voted to discontinue the Economic Development Special Rate Scheme at this week’s Council meeting (Wednesday 6 June).

The special rate was to be levied on local business and tourism operators to raise $230,000 per annum over three years that would be used for marketing and promotional activities in three areas:

  • A tourism promotion fund
  • A business development fund
  • A local business support fund

Local tourism and business groups originally suggested the rate in 1996. At that time, Council rates had been cut by 20% and capped, which limited the support that Council could provide to the local industry. Council and industry promoted the special rate and charge scheme as an innovative way to circumvent the cap on rates and raise money for economic development initiatives in the Shire.

"The community at that time had been experiencing significant unemployment rates with few job prospects," said Cr. Miranda Sage, Mayor of Bass Coast Shire Council. "The fund was seen as one way that Council could assist promote new investment and employment opportunities."

A Tourism Advisory Group was appointed, which include representatives from across the community with experience in business and tourism, to produce a marketing plan. The marketing plan was developed and it proposed how the funds should be spent. Council adopted the plan in 1999.

Cr. Sage said that although the scheme had been discontinued, many of the ideas proposed by the Tourism Advisory Group would continue.

Cr. Sage said that delays in implementing the scheme due business’ concern with the compliance cost of Y2K and GST had impacted on the momentum of the project and some of the support from local operators.

"It is unfortunate that we weren’t able to act immediately and implement the scheme as soon as it was approved by Council and had the support of the bulk of the business community," said Cr. Sage. "However, it was essential to first take into account the impact GST and Y2K may have on local businesses."

"We need to find more ways of attracting business to the area and supporting those already here," said Cr. Sage. "I hope that those business owners who supported the scheme do not get discouraged because it is important that businesses across Bass Coast support and encourage each other."


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