Financial relief for sporting clubs

Sporting clubs will be given a boost as they return to playing fields with Toowoomba Regional Council considering the waiving of winter park hire fees for sporting field use.

The recommendation was made earlier today at the Finance and Business Strategy Committee Meeting.

Chair of the meeting, Councillor Geoff McDonald said Council would look to waive park hire fees for sporting clubs for the 2020 winter sporting season (concluding 30 September 2020) in recognition of the adverse impact of COVID-19 on field use by sporting clubs.

“As a Council, we’ve been looking at ways in which we can support and help our community through this pandemic,” Cr McDonald said.

“This included a $125 rates rebate earlier this year (May), accompanied by a number of other financial relief measures for our residents.

“Following this we dedicated $50 million in our Budget to a pandemic package and made it clear that we would continue to consider further ways in which we could support our community, including our sporting organisations.

“We know COVID-19 has had a significant impact on winter sporting clubs such as rugby, AFL and soccer, with little to no games possible since late March, and we want to provide help where possible.

“While some of our clubs have begun returning to the sporting fields already, a number of others are still going through the necessary processes and we hope the waiving of park hire fees will help make this transition as smooth as possible for all groups.”

In addition to supporting sporting clubs, Council will also look to defer the reintroduction of card surcharges of 0.33% for all card transactions.

Finance and Business Strategy Committee portfolio lead Kerry Shine said Council was committed to assisting the community through these difficult times.

“While Council doesn’t have an endless bucket of cash, where we are able to provide relief to our residents, without severely impacting our long-term financial sustainability, we will continue to do so,” Cr Shine said.

“In April this year Council made a decision to waive card surcharges for all transactions and we think it would be more than appropriate to continue this until further notice.

“We also hope this will encourage residents to continue using cashless and contactless transactions as much as possible.”

Both recommendations will now go to the Ordinary Meeting of Council on 21 July 2020 for endorsement.

If approved, the card surcharge will be reviewed when considering the 2021/22 register of fees and charges.