Financial assistance due to light rail construction still open to City businesses

31 May 2019

Businesses that suffered hardship during construction of the light rail project can still apply for financial assistance up to 30 June.

Support is still available to properties within the City Centre Benefit Special Rate Area made possible via a successful amendment from the Lord Mayor in 2018 to Council's current budget.

Around 110 eligible property owners or tenants have already successfully applied for that relief, receiving assistance equalling 50 per cent of the City Centre Special Rate paid by the building owner, which to date has been $45,000.

Following a separate successful Lord Mayoral Minute at Tuesday’s May Council meeting, this assistance will be extended for a further 12 months for those businesses in The Mall and East End who pay or who operate within a building that pays the City Centre Special Rate.

Property owners seeking the rebate can only do so if they commit in writing to passing on the rebate to businesses leasing from them.

For a typical business, this support amounts to approximately $500.

"There’s still time for the business and tenants to take advantage of this year’s relief," Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

“Council took the decision to provide direct rate relief to those businesses suffering from the disruption that the construction of light rail brought about.

"We understand that their bottom line was adversely impacted, and this rate relief was a mechanism to ensure they received some financial assistance.

“Council once again acknowledged Tuesday that businesses faced continued challenges amid the unavoidable construction of the Iris Capital East End project and upcoming works by the City to upgrade Newcastle East.”

Financial assistance is available:

  • to the tenant(s) of the property, or
  • to the property owner - providing the property is solely owner occupied and no part is leased out.

To access this assistance, property owners must have at least paid the first-quarter rates instalment on their 2018/19 Rates and Charges Notice.

They should complete an application form together with details of tenants (with their signature) where applicable.

If more than one tenant occupies the property, a separate form is required for each tenant.

Once processed, the City will then transfer half the amount they would have paid for the 2018/19 City Centre Special Rate to the bank account nominated on the application form.

Both property owner and tenant(s) will be notified by email once the City makes the financial assistance payment.