OPEN PORTION OF THE Special Council Meeting

Thursday, 20 January 2022

AT 5:00pm




Agenda (Open Portion)

Special Council Meeting

Page 3








1.        Indications of Pecuniary and Conflicts Of Interest. 4

Special Report – Chief Executive Officer

2.        COVID-19 - Business Support and Engagement Package. 5


Item No. 2

Agenda (Open Portion)

Special Council Meeting

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A meeting of the Open Portion of the Council will be held Via zoom, on Thursday, 20 January 2022 at 5:00pm.


Kelly Grigsby

Chief Executive Officer

The title Chief Executive Officer is a term of reference for the General Manager as appointed by Council pursuant s.61 of the Local Government Act 1993 (Tas).

This meeting of the Council is held in accordance with a Notice issued by the Premier

on 3 April 2020 under section 18 of the COVID-19 Disease Emergency

(Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2020.


Lord Mayor A M Reynolds

Deputy Lord Mayor H Burnet

Alderman M Zucco

Alderman J R Briscoe

Alderman Dr P T Sexton

Alderman D C Thomas

Councillor W F Harvey

Alderman S Behrakis

Councillor M S C Dutta

Councillor J Ewin

Councillor Dr Z E Sherlock

Councillor W N S Coats








1.       Indications of Pecuniary and Conflicts Of Interest

Ref: Part 2, Regulation 8(7) of the Local Government (Meeting Procedures) Regulations 2015.

Elected members are requested to indicate where they may have any pecuniary or conflict of interest in respect to any matter appearing on the agenda, or any supplementary item to the agenda, which the Council has resolved to deal with.





Special Report – Chief Executive Officer


2.         COVID-19 - Business Support and Engagement Package

            File Ref: F22/3748; 16/119

Report of the Chief Executive Officer of 17 January 2022 and attachments.

Delegation:                 Council

Item No. 2

Agenda (Open Portion)

Special Council Meeting

Page 7







Memorandum: Council


COVID-19 - Business Support and Engagement Package and Communications




The purpose of this report is to provide the Council with an update on its local economic package to provide assistance to businesses impacted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.



Council at its meeting on the 23rd August 2021 meeting resolved to develop a local economic support package to assist businesses who continue to be impacted by border closures.


Subsequently, the CEO provided a Council Memorandum on the 8th of November 2021 to provide an update on the City of Hobart’s continued support of the business sector and broader community.


The update below provides a further overview of the organisation wide response including initiatives already undertaken and those planned to best support the Hobart community and business sector during these unprecedented times.


City Snapshot


Participating numbers of City supported initiatives will provide broad insight into community support and community hesitance to attend public gatherings before COVID-19 cases stabilise.


Saturday Commuter Ferry


Saturday 1st Jan                       930 passengers

Saturday 8th Jan                  750 passengers

Saturday 15th Jan                430 passengers


Commuter numbers appear to have trended downwards as the impact of the Omicron variant has increased.


Tasmania’s Own Market


The City of Hobart continues to offer discounted fees to Salamanca Market stallholders in recognition of the impact of COVID-19.


More recently, visitor figures have improved due to increased interstate tourism.  However, the number of stallholders trading has reduced slightly from 18th December 2021 and is well below a ‘normal Salamanca Market’. 


The City continues to provide additional COVID-19 support from Council’s budget such as Safety Officers and the City Welcome Volunteer Program together with infrastructure that meets our Public Health obligations including sanitiser, masks, signage, boundary fencing, and additional marquees.


















Metro Tasmania Promotion


A partnership was established with Metro Tasmania on Saturday October 30th and Sunday October 31st 2021.


While this campaign provided free travel for outbound journeys prior to the borders opening on December 15th 2021, it is included in this report for context.






Baseline CBD Boardings




Free CBD boardings




Fare paid in error




Total CBD Boardings




Change in CBD Boardings




Free boardings on CBD Fringe




Total free bus rides







Bookings at Parks and Sporting Facilities


An overview of the impacts on bookings for parks and sporting facilities include but are not limited to:


·    Franko’s Eats suspended their booking at Franklin Square as they found it was a loss making exercise with the limitations on crowd numbers and the requirement to wear masks for clients.


·    No sporting clubs have reported an inability to continue with the calendar of events but it is expected they are likely to experience issues in the near future.


·    There has been the abandonment of a number of Van Demonian bookings on the Regatta Grounds due to the uncertainty and limitations on numbers.  This is mostly driven by bands from interstate who are not prepared to travel to Tasmania and the small crowd sizes meaning it was not profitable.


Off-Street Parking Occupancy


The most recent data detailing off-street parking occupancy show a marked decline comparative to the same period last year (attachment).  It is fair to assume that the spike in the Omicron variant following the Christmas break has impacted the community’s willingness to enter the CBD.




Outdoor furniture


The City has installed additional outdoor seating and benches in Wellington Court, Elizabeth Street Mall, Franklin Square and along Murray and Collins streets to help people spread out and be COVID-safe during their lunch breaks and when enjoying time in Hobart (attachment).

Over the coming weeks we will work closely with the State Government and other key organisations to roll out further measures to support local businesses and help the community feel safe as we learn to live with the spread of Omicron.

Planning to support the Night Time Economy through the expansion of outdoor dining across the city has commenced.  Opportunities include installing additional outdoor furniture utilised by the Taste of Summer and future development of the Outdoor Dining Project outlined below.

Outdoor Occupancy licences

·      Application fees for businesses wishing to amend existing outdoor dining permits or apply for a new permit have been waived from 1st January 2022 until 31st March 2022.

·      Site fees have been waived from 1st January 2022 until 31st March 2022 for existing operators, and for those businesses who want to establish an outdoor occupation area for the first time, or want to expand their current area. 

·      The City of Hobart will communicate with all current permit holders directly in regard to these changes.

·      Permits require outdoor dining facilities to ensure pedestrians can continue to move easily along footpaths and do not impede safe and convenient access.

·      The revenue forgone to Council from the waiver for outdoor dining fees over 3 months is a total of $65,241.71


Outdoor Dining Project

Officers are further developing guidelines on the temporary conversion of suitable parking spaces into outdoor occupancy opportunities for businesses.

A memorandum is currently under consideration by the Executive Leadership Team that includes:

A draft design guide including an application pathway that has been developed to provide a clear process for traders who may wish to apply to install their own outdoor dining provision.


The guide incorporates learnings from research into outdoor dining programs from other cities and how these could be incorporated into an outdoor dining program in Hobart.


Given the ongoing and growing impact of COVID-19 on the business sector in Tasmania, it is proposed that the City consider the construction / or purchase of the infrastructure required to create 6 ‘short term’ outdoor dining sites.

The intention is that businesses will be able to utilise these dining spaces for their own use, thereby making the process easier for businesses.

The final details of the hire costs and duration are being developed.

Intergovernmental Relations and COVID-19 Support

Bi-weekly meetings have been established with State Government/ Business Tasmania to ensure a clear line of communication on the most up to date information and initiatives. There is a strong commitment to working closer together to ensure our funding support is aligned and indeed complimentary.

Meetings have also occurred with the City of Melbourne, City of Adelaide and the Property Council of Tasmania to share key learnings and to establish a collegiate approach in future.


Vacant Shopfront Activation


Planning is underway to increase precinct appeal by improving vibrancy and colour to our vacant shopfronts.  This planned campaign is based on the success of the City of Melbourne initiative to utilise vacant shopfronts to display vibrant design and key messages.  Council officers are currently working with landlords within the City to facilitate this program.


Passport to Hobart Campaign


Council officers have been working toward relaunching the City’s Passport to Hobart Campaign as a recovery initiative in the coming weeks and months.  Liaison with the food and beverage sector including the Tasmanian Hotels Association will provide insight into when the campaign will provide the maximum value to the food and beverage sector.


Hello Hobart


The Hello Hobart social media platforms and electronic direct marketing (EDM) database have been reactivated to connect directly with retailers and consumers.  The Hello Hobart brand will continue to provide positive communication to consumers in the Hobart LGA in addition to essential information to traders via EDM’s.  This will also include a significant marketing campaign aimed at getting people ‘eating out’ in Hobart.


Business Concierge


A Business Concierge has been established and will continue to scale up to support local businesses.  The goal of the Business Concierge is to provide a central point of contact for business enquiries at the City of Hobart. This service also provides Elected Members with the opportunity to direct communications from their constituents that require assistance.


The concierge can support business agility within the municipality by:

·    Providing a quick, efficient and helpful central point of contact

·    Help businesses find the right information

·    Connect them to the right people within the organisation

·    Provide advocacy on behalf of businesses with complex inquiries

·    Help businesses get back to business



COVID-19 Customer Relationship Management (CRM)


In order to better support the Business Concierge and officers across the organisation responding to COVID issues from the community, an outbound and inbound electronic form has been developed to better capture individual conversations and requests.





Commerce, Industry & Business Roundtables


These sessions are planned for early March 2022.  The roundtables will focus on the City’s ongoing COVID-19 Response and new Economic Development Strategy.


Business Consultative Group Meetings established in December 2020 will continue to occur as required through 2022.


Community Support


In order to provide relevant and up to date information, the Resilient Hobart webpages have been reactivated on the City’s website.  These webpages include portals for Business Support; COVID-19 information; and Hobart Together.  Hobart Together contains a range of support information for community under the following banners: Get Help; Connect with the City of Hobart; Be Kind: and Keep Creative and Engaged.  Officers will be ensuring that the information included on these pages is relevant and kept up to date.


Council officers in Community Programs are directly liaising with a range of community organisations and networks to determine community needs and develop appropriate responses. It is noted that there may be particular concerns in accessing information and support in multicultural communities, for people with disabilities, young people and for older people. It is acknowledged that many community members may be feeling fearful of leaving home or engaging with face to face activities. Officers are therefore connecting directly with community members, are developing alternative on-line programing as well as continuing face to face programing where appropriate.


The Youth Programs team has developed an activation program in the City to engage young people and provide them with an opportunity to perform in public.  This program also activates the City with pop up performances in public spaces such as Wellington Court, Collins Court and the Elizabeth Street Mall. Early feedback indicates that the performances are very well received, enlivening the City and creating a positive atmosphere.


At this stage there has not been any other direct initiatives or programs implemented to support the community or creative and arts sector.  It is noted that the next round of Creative Hobart, Business, Events and Community grants is due to open in early February which will provide the community, creative and events sectors the opportunity to think positively into the future and plan for events, projects and activities commencing from July 2022.


Activations and Events


Given the current situation with COVID-19 and as a community safety precaution, on Wednesday 12th January 2022, the Waterfront Weekend scheduled for 22nd and 23rd January 2022 was postponed. The Waterfront Weekend was the first activity in the Summer Activation Program 2022 that was endorsed by Council on 9th August 2021.


In considering the current restrictions and community safety priorities associated with COVID-19, it is necessary for the remainder of the program to be reconsidered, whilst at the same time maintaining the social and economic benefits of activating the city throughout summer. The Activations and Events team are working with the Community Programs and Creative Hobart teams to develop activities that engage artists, arts workers and event suppliers at this time when there is continuing uncertainty for the creative industries.


All updates to details of the summer activations programming will be presented to the Chief Executive Officer for approval before going ahead.


As previously mentioned the Events Medium Grant round opens in February for activity up to $20,000 commencing from July 2022. This funding will be important support in the middle of the year for the events industry recovering from the cancellations and postponements due to the spread of COVID-19 in the first half of 2022. The In-Kind Venue and Event Resource Grant is still open for support of up to $1,000. Officers are currently looking at any minor changes that could be done to events support grants that complement the support packages offered by State Government.




The following is a summary of actions undertaken or planned in relation to COVID-19 specific communications and support (attachment).


Extra communications resources

·    As part of the City of Hobart’s response to the spread of Omicron it has boosted communications personnel by expanding the role of the bushland communications officer to include COVID-19 communications. This staff member is now on the COVID-19 Response Team.

Launch of fast-tracked business support package

·    On Monday 10th January, the Lord Mayor launched the City’s fast-tracked COVID-19 support package on ABC Radio Hobart. A media release had good pickup, and the package was covered in the Mercury. Social media amplified the launch, and received positive feedback.

Activation of Hello Hobart communications & Business Update email list

·    The Hello Hobart communications channels and business email lists have been reactivated.  These channels will facilitate better communication with City of Hobart businesses and patrons about what the City is doing to support business and keep the CBD and other business districts alive in a COVID-safe way.

·    A new Business Update e-bulletin has gone out advising business operators of the new support package.
This email went out to a list of more than 700 business operators. This email list will be actively engaged as part of the City’s COVID communications plans.

·    The Hello Hobart Facebook page and website will be used as a vehicle to help promote businesses as they grapple with staff issues around COVID. Content for this Facebook page will maintain a positive vibe to reflect the page audience. Great photos and engaging copy will be key to ensuring this page is used to full advantage. The website will be used to help promote individual businesses.

Supporting business through story

·    We aim to support the business community by telling great stories about how individual operators are protecting staff and patrons in COVID staff ways. These stories should reassure the public that measures are being taken to keep our community active and vibrant.

Regatta Grounds free parking extended

·    The successful model of opening up the Regatta Grounds as free parking to provide open space parking in a COVID-safe environment will be reactivated from 18th January to 5th February. Communications will be used to encourage the public to take advantage of this free parking opportunity and keep coming into the City and supporting local business.

COVID communications plan

A communications plan is being developed to:

·    Identify communications channels across the City of Hobart that can be used to effectively convey the amount of work the City is carrying out to support business and the community as we learn to live with COVID.

·    Develop key messages.

·    Support business and help maintain a vibrant CBD.

·    Promote key activation activities.





1.      The Council note the progress to date in implementing the City of Hobart’s COVID-19 Economic Support Package.

2.      The Council delegate the Chief Executive Officer to:

(i)      Prepare an Outdoor Dining Program across the City in consultation with local traders, including a ‘pop up’ night time economy program that facilitates restaurateurs to provide dinner service during summer on footpaths, road reserves and local parks in accordance with appropriate safety standards.

(ii)     Work with the arts and events industry to facilitate access to Federal, State and Local Government funding to support those events that have been / will be impacted by COVID -19 as a result of the most recent wave of infections across the State

(iii)    Scale up a ‘Check In and Chat’ service to enable vulnerable and isolated members of the community to register to receive a regular call from a Council Officer to ‘check in and chat’.

(iv)    Continue to offer parking incentives and CBD retail promotions to encourage retail spend in the CBD and Salamanca Market.

(v)     Extend the waiving of fees for Outdoor Dining, Food Licenses, Occupation Licenses (for authorised trading purposes by the CEO).

(vi)    Continue to undertake a comprehensive Hello Hobart Marketing campaign to profile local businesses and services across the city.

(vii)   Review Council’s Grants Programs to ensure it’s directed to those most affected areas in our arts / events and business community and provide a subsequent report to Council.

(viii)  Seek funding support from other levels of government to ensure Hobart receives appropriate levels of support for these and other related COVID-19 related economic interventions as has been the case in other capital cities across the country.


As signatory to this report, I certify that, pursuant to Section 55(1) of the Local Government Act 1993, I hold no interest, as referred to in Section 49 of the Local Government Act 1993, in matters contained in this report.


Kelly Grigsby

Chief Executive Officer



Date:                            17 January 2022

File Reference:          F22/3748; 16/119



Attachment a:             Parking Occupancy

Attachment b:             Outdoor Seating

Attachment c:            Covid Media Snapshot   

Item No. 2

Agenda (Open Portion)

Special Council Meeting - 20/1/2022

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Special Council Meeting - 20/1/2022

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Agenda (Open Portion)

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