Central Goldfields Shire has adopted a plan to help Maryborough's retail industry recover after the pandemic.
The retail recovery program will see a $40,000 grant from the state government go towards ensuring retail returns as the backbone of the town.
The shire engaged contractors to consult with local retailers to assess the impacts of the pandemic and how best to support the industry over a two-week period in November 2021, with more than 40 business owners, traders and people who live, shop and work in Maryborough joining the conversation.
It found retailers were concerned due to the accelerated trend towards online shopping, the greater capacity of larger players to absorb the impacts of lockdowns and the consolidation of some retail into larger cities.
Central Goldfields Shire councillor Grace La Vella said the impacts of the pandemic on the local retail sector have given greater urgency to supporting the sector.
"The retail industry in Maryborough has been significantly affected by the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic over recent years," she said.
"It has shown remarkable resilience to date but needs support in order to adapt and facilitate growth in the face of ongoing challenges."
"The smaller local retailers and traditional CBD shopping strips that are critical to local jobs and profits being retained and circulated in the local economy, need support to meet these challenges."
Rinaldi's Fashions owner Linda Parry said it was important to future-proof local businesses.
"Local businesses employ local people and contributing to the local economy is integral to every small community.
"It's important there are steps in place to ensure we will be around for years to come and this retail recovery program is a step in the right direction in terms of understanding our needs and challenges.
"Retail is not only a large employer in our shire but also financially supports our local sporting and community groups."
Council officers will now review the program of proposed initiatives and develop an implementation plan.
For more information, and to view the program, visit engage.cgoldshire.vic.gov.au/retail-recovery-program
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