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Changes to Council's services, facilities and events

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Golden Plains Shire Council has implemented a number of changes to its operations to reduce the risks to residents, staff and volunteers.

As the situation evolves, further changes will be posted on Council’s website, social media, and on the Council News page in the Golden Plains Times. For any questions, please call Customer Service at 5220 7111.

Changes to Council’s Services: Current as of Tuesday 16 March, 2021

Victoria, including Golden Plains Shire, returned to COVID-Safe settings on Friday 26 February. Council encourages all community members to read and follow the remaining COVID-Safe restrictions:

  • Masks are required on public transport, aged care facilities and in some larger retail settings, such as supermarkets and shopping centres
  • Victorians can host up to 30 people in their home each day
  • Public outdoor gatherings can increase to 100 people
  • 75 per cent of office staff can return to working onsite

For more information on the current restrictions, visit the Department of Health website here or call the 24-hour COVID-19 hotline at 1800 675 398.

Customer Service: Open

Council’s Customer Service Centres at The Well in Smythesdale and the Golden Plains Civic Centre in Bannockburn are open from 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. All visitors to the centres will be required to practicse good hand hygiene and observe 1.5m physical distancing. Community members can also contact the Customer Service team without physically attending by calling 5220 7111, submitting an online request here, emailing enquiries@gplains.vic.gov.au, or writing to PO Box 111, Bannockburn, VIC 3331.

Return of In-Person Consultations

After a year-long break due to COVID-19, in-person meetings are returning for residents and applicants to meet with members of Council’s Development and Regulatory Services department.

A meeting room next to the Golden Plains Civic Centre’s Customer Service desk is exclusively available for meetings with officers from the Statutory and Strategic Planning, Community Safety, Environmental Health, Building Surveying, and Development Engineering teams.

In line with Council’s COVIDSafe Plan, the capacity of the room is limited to four people, and the room and its surfaces are wiped down after each meeting. Online meetings will remain an option for general enquiries, consultation meetings and pre-application meetings with officers, should residents prefer to meet virtually.

If large pre-application meetings or general enquiries are needed, Council encourages organisers to contact the Customer Service team at 5220 7111 in advance so an alternate location can be organised to accommodate all participants.

In-person meeting participants will need to practice social distancing, good hand hygiene, and will be required to sign-in at the front desk for contact tracing purposes.

Essential Council Services Still Operating

Council’s essential services continued to operate during the lockdown including:

  • Kindergarten
  • Occasional Child Care
  • Family Day Care
  • Maternal and Child Health (will offer phone appointments where possible)
  • Active Ageing & Inclusion Services will operate as usual, based on current rosters for next week
  • Outdoor work teams will continue to work on-site
  • Kerbside waste collection

Change to Council's Facilities: Current as of Tuesday 16 March, 2021

Rokewood Transfer Station: Open

Council's Waste Transfer Station in Rokewood is open for normal operating hours.

Playgrounds: Open

Outdoor playgrounds are open.

All playground users are reminded to continue practising social distancing and good hand hygiene.

Library Services: Open

The Bannockburn Library and Golden Plains Mobile Library operated by Geelong Regional Library Corporation (GRLC) reopened on Thursday 18 February.

For more details on opening hours, visit the GRLC website: grlc.vic.gov.au/coronavirus.

Bannockburn Heart Water Playspace: Open

The water playspace at the Bannockburn Heart reopened on Thursday 18 February, 2021.

Outdoor Gym Equipment: Open

Outdoor communal gym equipment is now open.

All outdoor equipment users are reminded to continue practising social distancing and good hand hygiene.

Campgrounds: Open

Campgrounds in Golden Plains Shire are open, including at these locations:

  • Inverleigh - Leigh River South
  • Pollocksford Bridge
  • Bunjil Lookout
  • Smythesdale Public Gardens
  • Haddon Lions Park

All campers are reminded to continue practising COVIDSafe measures including private gathering limits, social distancing, hygiene and wearing of masks as required in line with the latest the latest DHHS COVIDSafe Summer restrictions and guidance available here.

Skate Parks and Bike Parks: Open

Outdoor skateparks and BMX tracks are open, including:

  • Teesdale Skate Park
  • Turtle Bend BMX Track
  • Inverleigh Skate Park
  • Rokewood BMX Track
  • Rokewood Recreation Reserve Skate Park
  • Smythesdale Skate Park
  • Smythesdale BMX Track
  • Linton Rail Trail Skate Park
  • Meredith Skate Park
  • Bannockburn Skate Park

All skate and bike park users are reminded to continue practising social distancing and good hand hygiene.

Outdoor Sporting Facilities: Open

Outdoor recreation reserves are open.

Both adults and children can compete and train in both contact and non-contact community sport. Contact sport will be allowed both indoors and outdoors.

Communal change rooms, showers and toilets are open.

Note: Cleaning, signage, density quotients, record keeping, and other COVIDSafe requirements continue to apply for all venues and facilities with onsite operations as per Workplace Directions.

Other sport and exercise information in line with the latest DHHS COVIDSafe Summer restrictions and guidance is available here.

Indoor Recreation Centres: Open

Indoor recreation centres reopened are open.

Both adults and children can compete and train in both contact and non-contact community sport. Contact sport will be allowed both indoors and outdoors.

Communal change rooms, showers and toilets are open.

Note: Cleaning, signage, density quotients, record keeping, and other COVIDSafe requirements continue to apply for all venues and facilities with onsite operations as per Workplace Directions.

Other sport and exercise information in line with the latest DHHS COVIDSafe Summer restrictions and guidance is available here.

Community Centres: Open

Council's Community Facilities at the Bannockburn Cultural Centre, The Well in Smythesdale and Meredith Community Centre are open.

The centres will be open for bookings and community usage.

Density quotients of 1 per 2sqm will apply, subject to use of electronic record keeping. If not using electronic record keeping, a density quotient of 1 per 4sqm applies. No patron caps.

Other information on Community Facilities in line with the latest DHHS COVIDSafe Summer restrictions and guidance is available here.

Enquiries for booking facilities should be directed to Council via the customer service centre on 5220 7111 or via email to BCC@gplains.vic.gov.au (for the Bannockburn Cultural Centre), or TheWell@gplains.vic.gov.au (for the Smythesdale Well).

Change to Events, Engagements and Programs: Current as of Tuesday 16 March, 2021

Golden Plains Farmers' Market

The next Golden Plains Farmers' Market is scheduled for 3 April 2021, and will continue as planned. More information on what COVIDSafe measures and guidelines will be advertised closer to the event.

In the meantime, don't forget you can contact many of your favourite stallholders through the Golden Plains Virtual Farmers' Market here.

Youth Groups: Resuming 18 February

Council's weekly youth groups will resume face-to-face sessions in Bannockburn on Thursday 18 February and Tuesday 23 February in Smythesdale. Attendees will need to wear a face mask and observe 1.5m physical distancing. For more information, contact the Youth Development Team via mark.decampo@gplains.vic.gov.au or call / text 0422 101 109.

Council Meetings

Until further notice, all scheduled meetings of Council are only accessible to the public via the livestream on Council's YouTube channel. For more information on Council Meetings, click here.

COVID-19 Council Support

In June 2020, Council resolved to allocate an additional $100,000 in financial support for ratepayers and residents experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On 26 August 2020, Council extended its COVID-19 Financial Hardship Policy, giving significant relief for local residents and businesses.

Council approved the following additional measures on 2020/21 rates payments:

  • Extension of interest waived on overdue rates from 30 September 2020 to 30 June 2021
  • Support customer applications for:
  • Deferring payment of rates to 30 June 2021
  • Waiving a maximum of $500 off rates at principal place of residence to customers receiving JobSeeker as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Waiving a maximum of $500 off rates on businesses receiving JobKeeper payments as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Waiving $100 off rates on properties for customers who can demonstrate 30% or more reduction in income
  • Continued suspension of debt recovery action from 30 September 2020 to 30 June 2021

COVID-19 FINANCIAL HARDSHIP POLICY

COVID-19 FINANCIAL HARDSHIP APPLICATION

In April 2020, Golden Plains Shire Council established its COVID-19 Financial Hardship Policy, confirming a package of financial relief options for local residents and businesses to support the Golden Plains community in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With State and Federal Governments taking the lead on major financial measures including the new Jobkeeper and increased Jobseeker programs to keep regular income coming in to households, Council has reviewed a variety of measures to alleviate the pressure of upcoming payments while still maintaining its delivery of important community services and its responsibilities as a significant local employer.

In its original COVID-19 Hardship Policy, Council delivered the following COVID-19 related relief measures:

Ratepayers and residents experiencing financial hardship

  • Introduction of a Special COVID-19 Financial Hardship Policy for Golden Plains Shire Council ratepayers
  • Suspension of all current debt recovery action for unpaid 2019/20 rates through to 30 September 2020
  • Waive interest on overdue 2019/20 rates through to 30 September 2020
  • Waive penalties for late payment on pet registration fees through to 30 September 2020 (note: pets must still be registered by 10 April 2020)
  • New payment plans available for animal registration renewals

Business support

  • Introduction of a Special COVID-19 Financial Hardship Policy for local businesses
  • Commitment to pay invoices from all local businesses within 14 days to support cash flow
  • Extension of time applications for business-related septic tank and planning permits expiring before 30 September 2020 can be lodged at no cost
  • Refund of all permit fees for events and activities that have been cancelled or closed as directed by Government
  • New allowance for commercial businesses to reduce their waste collection arrangements if necessary
  • Free mentoring support for small businesses experiencing hardship
  • Free promotion of local businesses on Council’s website and social media with Be Kind to Business campaign
  • Dedicated COVID-19 business support page on Council's website with links to Federal and State Government programs
  • Access to dedicated business support officer within Council for local businesses to receive individual assistance

Capital works

Council will continue budgeted capital works as scheduled to maximise local business and employment opportunities

Community Assistance Directory

Golden Plains Shire Council’s Community Assistance Directory is a guide for local community members to find information on the support services available during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Council continues to deliver its many community services across the Shire and we encourage residents to seek the support of the services in the directory, as needed.

Access the Community Assistance Directory

Be Kind Golden Plains

Golden Plains Shire is joining the Be Kind campaign, started by its Central Highlands Council partner City of Ballarat. The Be Kind Golden Plains campaign is all about bringing people together in spirit and encouraging kindness and support during the unprecedented COVID-19 health crisis. Visit the Be Kind Golden Plains webpage for information on community, Council and Government initiatives to keep one another connected and safe during these difficult times.

Be Kind Golden Plains

Information on COVID-19

With a lot of attention in the media and online on COVID-19, residents may be unsure where to get the most up-to-date information from the health authorities.

The Victorian Government’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has the most up-to-date information and resources on it's website: dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus

DHHS COVID-19 WEBSITE

Get tested for COVID-19

If you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, however mild, please get tested. Testing is available at a number of locations across the region if you suspect you have symptoms of COVID-19, however appointments are usually required.

WHERE TO GET TESTED

If you have concerns about your health, it's best to contact your GP, or if you suspect you may have COVID-19, please call the dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398. Please keep 000 for emergencies only.

Check current restrictions

All people in Victoria must follow the current restrictions from the Victorian Government.

CURRENT RESTRICTIONS

More Information

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Page Last Updated:

Tuesday, 23 March 2021 - 5:09pm

 

Council acknowledges the traditional Wadawurrung owners of this land. Council pays its respects to Wadawurrung Elders both past and present and extends that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People who are part of Golden Plains Shire.