Commercial aircraft fees will be waived at Hervey Bay Airport until June 30. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Commercial aircraft fees will be waived at Hervey Bay Airport until June 30. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

VIRUS RELIEF: Commercial fees cut at Bay airport

ALL fees for commercial aircraft will be waived at the Hervey Bay Airport until June 30.

Ken Diehm, Fraser Coast Regional Council CEO, made the announcement at a special meeting this morning, as part of the council’s $1 million coronavirus relief package.

The initial recommendation was to waive airport fees for a period of two months, with the expectation the newly-formed council would revisit the issue after the election.

Councillor Stuart Taylor questioned whether two months was long enough, given health authorities say the economic impacts of COVID-19 could be felt until at least October.

Mr Diehm said the two month recommendation was to provide immediate relief but it could be revisited as the pandemic evolves.

“My expectation in relation to airport travel is this crisis will continue for a period of time,” Mr Diehm said.

“This pandemic is constantly evolving. What we thought was appropriate action a week ago is no longer appropriate.

“We’ve put two months to provide immediate, significant concessions. We wanted to leave it to the new council to make the decision about extending.”

Deputy mayor Darren Everard moved to amend the recommendation to have a June 30 end date, in an effort to ensure the new council considers extending that date.

The amendment was accepted and the recommendation to waive airport fees was approved, along with the rest of the package.

Fraser Coast businesses will also receive immediate relief, with Mr Diehm announcing all license fees and permits will be extended for six months, at no charge.

This will benefit businesses such as cafes, restaurants, hairdressers, swimming pools, mobile food vendors and roadside buskers currently suffering from a lack of customers and event cancellations.

Business owners can make new permit applications for free up until May 31.

From June 1 to June 30, application fees will have a 50 per cent discount applied.

The recommendations were all unanimously approved.

This included the recommendation that the CEO report back before June 30 with further rates concession options for the 2020/21 financial year.

Mr Diehm will also update the council’s financial hardship policy and consider any other measures to financially help the community during this time of crisis.