Your RDA Illawarra is directly connecting with key government decision-makers and influencing economic recovery initiatives for the Illawarra. The Chair, Eddy De Gabriele, Deputy Chair, Joanna Kubota, and I have met with our Minister, Nola Marino, as she continues to hold teleconferences three times a week regarding COVID-19 and its impact on regional communities, which I attend at least weekly.

The RDA Illawarra Board met last week and shared local intelligence and continue to work hard for the greater good of our region. As a community, we are working with our stakeholders to assist long term recovery efforts for our economy. This includes looking at how to assess ‘shovel-ready’ projects and how to best assist small businesses to navigate the current and future states. While all economies have been hard hit, we in the Illawarra region are especially good at pulling together in times of crisis. Some of the positives so far include:

  • Fast-tracked accounts payments to small businesses by BlueScope, Wollongong and Shellharbour Councils, who are now paying suppliers within 7-15 days
  • Ruby Princess docked in Port Kembla was welcomed and crew are being supported
  • Positive leadership traits are being seen across our community, including decisive and clear communication to staff and suppliers, and even a little humour.

This eNews series on COVID-19 aims to keep our community up to date with the ever-changing landscape, as well as RDA’s current initiatives.


Debra Murphy
CEO RDA Illawarra

Following is additional information regarding the Australian Government's COVID-19 measures and support packages which is now available:

$10K SMB Grants now open

The NSW Government is providing financial support of up to $10,000 to ease pressures on small businesses and non-profit organisations suffering as a result of COVID-19. Applications of this grant are now open for eligible businesses.

Further details including; eligibility and how to apply can be found on the Service NSW website.

Measures to Help Renters

The Prime Minister also announced new measures to help renters. Under these measures, evictions will be put on hold over the next 6 months for commercial and residential tenants in financial distress, who are unable to meet their commitments due to the impact of the coronavirus. Please refer to:

Freight Access

The Australian Government has today announced a $110 million initiative securing freight access for Australia agricultural and fisheries exporters. For more details, please refer to the following joint media release link:

Updates from the Department of Education, Skills and Employment

The Department of Education, Skills and Employment has provided information about the following topics:

Telecommunications relief package

NBN Co will provide $150 million in financial relief to internet providers to assist families and businesses to stay connected through the agreement of telecommunication hardship principles.

Aviation industry support

The Australian Government will support Qantas and Virgin Australia Groups to operate a minimum domestic network.

Support for regional and small publishers

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has brought forward the release of the 2020 round of the Regional and Small Publishers Innovation Fund. Applications will now open in late April.