President of the West End Traders Association, Peter Marinelli, said he welcomes Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner’s $5 million assistance package for businesses in Brisbane. The package includes waiving fees, rents and charges for Brisbane businesses and community groups impacted by the spread of coronavirus.

“It’s great news, it’s a start. It’s something that helps. The Council gets a lot of revenue from footpath dining, food license permits and from parking meters. So it’s good to see that the Council is finally trying to help some of our small businesses, and large businesses as well,” Mr Marinelli said.

Mr Marinelli said that Council had helped out in the past two years when there were COVID lockdowns. He said the circumstances are different this year with no formal lockdown, but staffing and supply issues are creating new demands on businesses.

Cr Schrinner said his Council’s latest economic relief package will benefit more than five thousand Brisbane businesses, sports clubs, and community bodies by eliminating a significant number of fees and charges for the first quarter of 2022.

Food safety, outdoor dining, food trucks and temporary food stalls along with river moorings, film permits, advertising and live music fees will be among the charges eliminated as well as leasing costs for clubs and community groups on Council land.

“Every little bit helps, it’s $100 here or $200 there. Some of these small businesses need as much help as possible,” Mr Marinelli said.

Cr Schrinner said he was determined to provide relief during the most challenging time of the COVID-19 pandemic for many operators.

“Many business owners and community groups have told me that this is turning out to be the most difficult time of all since the pandemic began,” Cr Schrinner said.

“While there’s no formal lockdown and very few health orders in place, warnings about how people should limit their movements as the Omicron variant spreads through our community is having a devastating impact.”

“Many businesses would have been counting on a bumper summer season to start making up for previous losses but instead they’re facing further declines in trade because their customers have vanished along with the support that was once available to them.”

Cr Schrinner said there’s a real risk of businesses closing and jobs being lost. He hopes the Council initiative leads to further relief measures such as power bill rebates or stamp duty and payroll tax concessions.

Mr Marinelli agrees:

“Now it’s time for the State and Federal governments to step up as well,” Mr Marinelli said.

Council will also set aside $400,000 for commercial operators who lease Council buildings and can demonstrate that the current COVID-19 outbreak is causing financial hardship.

Brisbane Jazz Club President said the Club welcomed the waiver of first quarter Council fees in 2022.


The Jazz Club is a not-for-profit enterprise run by volunteers and is based on Council land at Kangaroo Point.


“Our club, similar to all hospitality venues, is finding the first months of this year very tough due to staff shortages and low patron numbers as people are avoiding crowds but our expenses and bills are still coming in.”


“The removal of just one bill is great news. It costs the Club a significant amount each day to keep our doors open which is not always covered during diminished audiences. This is great assistance for a community organisation.”


Mr Day said Council had also assisted through other funding programs, supporting the Jazz Club, particularly after the Club was forced to close its doors for four months at the start of the pandemic. 


“Well done, Lord Mayor, every cost waived helps us to keep the doors open and musicians in employment,” Mr Day said.

The Schrinner Council has also introduced a Local Buy procurement policy and a 7-day faster payments initiative which it says is benefiting thousands of local businesses.

Cr Schrinner said the pandemic has shown that predicting any outcome is impossible, so Council stands ready to provide further relief in the future should it be required.

We continue to see changes to operating hours and temporary closures for many businesses across West End.

Mr Marinelli said some West End businesses are doing okay, but others are very quiet.

“I’m finding it’s sort of up and down at the moment in regard to trade. Some days are okay, but some days are really, really quiet. I believe in the next two to three weeks, we may see an even quieter period.”

“For businesses, it depends on staff as well. For example, El Torito Mexican Restaurant is currently closed because staff are not able to come in. So that makes it really hard. Hopefully, the landlord will look at the situation and maybe give them a bit of relief.”

As well as shopping locally, Mr Marinelli said that West End customers could also see if some of the smaller businesses will deliver, rather than always turning to the bigger retailers.

“Some of the smaller retailers will help in doing deliveries to your door as well. The Swiss Deli does deliveries as well as the fruit shop, and I know a few other businesses will be happy to do deliveries. So if you’re stuck, don’t be afraid to ring up some of the small local businesses to say, “Hey, can I order this for deliver”?”

Mr Marinelli said the best way to help local businesses is to comply with COVID rules.

“Because if everybody’s safe, businesses can stay open.”

See our Covid related stories HERE