COVID-19: Council Update
The health of our community, Council's employees and volunteers is Golden Plains Shire Council's top priority.
Due to the Coronavirus (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 and social media, with weekly updates on the Council News page in the Golden Plains Times. For any questions, please call Customer Service at 5220 7111.
For information on how communities can still come together in spirit and encourage kindness and support during this unprecedented crisis, visit
Changes to Council’s Services: Current as of 26 October, 2020
On 6 September, the Victorian Government announced its roadmap out of COVID-19 restrictions. Since 11.59pm, Wednesday 16 September, Golden Plains Shire and the rest of regional Victoria are now in the Third Step of the Government's roadmap towards COVID Normal.
Under the Third Step Towards COVID Normal, there are no longer restrictions on reasons to leave your home or the distance you can travel across regional Victoria, however some activities are still limited and you must wear a face covering when you leave home, unless you have a lawful exemption. From 11.59pm, Tuesday 27 October, 2020, Third Step restrictions in regional Victoria will ease further. Full details on the current restrictions can be found here.
Customer Service: Reopened Monday 21 September
Council’s Customer Service Centres at The Well in Smythesdale and the Golden Plains Civic Centre in Bannockburn reopened for face-to-face customer service interactions on Monday 21 September, 2020.
Both Customer Service Centres are open 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, following the most recent closure in line with Victorian Government COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
Residents who visit Council’s Customer Service Centres are required to follow social distancing guidelines, including the mandatory requirement to wear a facemask, as well as health and hygiene protocols, including a limit on the number of people in the centre at a time and application of hand sanitiser.
Customer visits will be limited to 15 minutes at the desk or in a meeting room, with options for follow-up phone and online meetings available for longer consultations.
Consultations on planning, building, environmental health and local laws matters will continue to only be available via phone; call 5220 7111.
Customers seeking more information about attending Council’s Customer Service Centres are welcome to call 5220 7111.
Essential services of Council that require physical contact including immunisation, Maternal and Child Health Services, Delivered Meals (Meals on Wheels), childcare, Community Care, and food safety inspections will continue to operate on a priority basis and subject to staff availability.
In line with the Victorian Government's requirement that all Victorians over 12 years must wear face coverings outside their home from 11.59pm, Sunday 2 August, 2020, all Council staff will wear supplied face masks and all visitors, contractors and clients must wear face coverings at all Council locations.
There are some exemptions under Department of Health and Human Service guidelines including:
* Exemption for educators: It is not compulsory for teachers, educators and carers to wear face coverings while teaching or caring for children as the covering can interfere with their ability to clearly communicate with students. Teachers, educators and carers can choose to wear masks if they wish when in the classroom/ facility or when teaching or providing care for children.
Please note: teachers, educators and carers will wear masks in other areas of the school/ facility when not teaching.
* Exemption while driving or in a vehicle alone, and this includes when in a plant machine with an enclosed cabin. When travelling in a car with other people who are not your family members, masks are required to be worn. If travelling, please remember to have a face covering available, as it is mandatory when leaving the vehicle.
* Exemption during emergency situations.
* Face masks may be removed when eating and drinking. Please ensure you maintain 1.5m separation from others during this time and keep mask at hand to wear immediately afterwards.
Maternal and Child Health
As allowed by the Victorian Government under the new restriction of home visits in Golden Plains Shire, Council’s Maternal and Child Health Nurses will also continue to attend homes visits, as required, wearing face masks and with additional COVID controls in place.
Council’s Maternal and Child Health Service continues with modified service delivery from all its centres including Smythesdale, Teesdale, Inverleigh, Meredith, Rokewood and the Bannockburn Family Services Centre, adhering to health and hygiene recommendations of the Department of Health and Human Services. In order to continue to provide services to families, Council's Maternal and Child Health services have adopted a variety of modes of service delivery, including telephone, electronic consultations, as well as face-to-face appointments. Families with a scheduled appointment will receive a text message containing information on the time and mode of the visit. Unfortunately Drop-In sessions have ceased until further notice, however first time parents groups have resumed electronically.
Golden Plains Shire Council Maternal and Child Health (MCH) programs continue to be reviewed to ensure community and staff safety with respect to COVID-19. From Monday 3 August, there will be some changes to the services in response to COVID-19; these changes will be reviewed as required. Council's MCH service will prioritise essential services for families with 0 to 18-month-old babies, and for families who require additional support.
- Health screening will occur - families will be called on the morning of appointment day; unwell clients will be required to partake in a phone consultation only, rescheduling the physical assessment to a later date as required.
- At the agreed appointment time, families will be asked to arrive at the centre car park and wait in their car for the nurse to phone. Telehealth consultation will be conducted at this time.
- Following telephone discussion, the nurse will provide an opportunity to attend in the centre for a brief face to face child assessment. Please do not bring prams due to the time restraints.
- While in the centre, primary carer will be required to wear a face mask or covering (supplied if required). Nurses will also be wearing face masks. Universal precautions are being practiced at all visits
- Home visiting (supported by phone consultations) will continue for all newborn babies and those who require it, with recommended personal protection equipment (as per DHHS guidelines).
- Children who are due for 2-year-old and 3.5-year-old Key Age and Stage visita are being postponed for a month or so unless parents/carers have urgent developmental concerns. Please contact us to reschedule a future appointment or be placed on a list by calling 5220 7230. Alternatively families can make contact later in the year to receive this service.
- Please call 5220 7230 for any questions relating to the MCH service
For more information on changes to service delivery or to book an appointment, call 5220 7230 or email email@example.com. The 24-hour MCH Line is available on 13 22 29.
Bannockburn Family Services Centre
The Bannockburn Family Services Centre is temporarily closed to groups and non-essential services. Bannockburn Children’s Service continues to operate long day care. Maternal and Child Health appointments are available at Bannockburn and Smythesdale with modified service delivery, adhering to health and hygiene recommendations of the Department of Health and Human Services including separate entry points. Questions? Call 5220 7230 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Active Ageing and Disability Services
As allowed by the Victorian Government under the restriction of home visits in Golden Plains Shire, Council’s HACC team will continue to provide personal care services in Golden Plains Shire homes, wearing face masks and with additional COVID controls in place. Council’s Maternal and Child Health Nurses will also continue to attend homes visits, as required.
Council’s Active Ageing and Disability Service is continuing to provide support to the community through delivered meals, essential community transport, personal care and limited domestic assistance. Continued essential services to high need, vulnerable clients includes providing support to clients to attend medical appointments and shopping for essential food items for clients with no ‘natural supports’ (no family, friend or other to assist them and they can’t access themselves). Domestic Assistance continues for clients who have on-going respiratory/ chronic health conditions and have no natural supports.
Respite Services and Social Support Programs have been suspended. To minimise the impact of isolation, Council's team is keeping in regular contact with clients and where possible will call for social support which may include doing newspaper quiz together, chatting about a TV series the client and worker have in common or just taking the time to get to know the client better.
Council is also experiencing an increase in requests for delivered meals and immediate food relief; and have developed a partnership with Smythesdale IGA who retained stock for Council to purchase products for relief packs including toilet paper, sugar, pasta etc., and then home delivered two orders for community members in need. This partnership will continue as the need arises.
Rokewood Transfer Station: Open
Council's Rokewood Resource Recovery Centre reopened on Sunday 31 May. In line with Federal and State Government guidelines, social distancing and health and hygiene practises are in place at the site. Customers are strongly encouraged to pay by card, however cash payment will still be accepted. The centre is open every Sunday, 10am to 3pm. Council's waste collection service has continued unchanged throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Golden Plains Farmers' Market
The Golden Plains Farmers' Market will return on Saturday 7 November, 2020, with more details to be announced shortly. In the meantime, don't forget you can contact many of your favourite stallholders through the Golden Plains Virtual Farmers' Market here.
Change to Council's Facilities: Current as of Monday 26 October, 2020
Playgrounds and Outdoor Gym Equipment: Open
Outdoor playgrounds reopened for play in Golden Plains Shire on Monday 14 September.
Council has removed the closure signs posted at playgrounds and outdoor exercise equipment locations, which can now also reopen. At each stop, Council officers inspected the equipment and surrounds, logged any maintenance works, cleaned up any rubbish at the site, and removed the closure sign.
All playground and exercise equipment users are reminded to continue practising social distancing and good hand hygiene in line with the remaining restrictions.
Skate Parks and Bike Parks: Open
In line with Golden Plains Shire and the rest of regional Victoria moving to Step Three of the Victorian Government’s reopening roadmap, skate and bike parks reopened on Thursday 17 September.
Council has removed the closure signs posted at these locations:
- 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
At each stop, Council officers will inspected the equipment and surrounds, logged any maintenance works, cleaned up any rubbish at the site, and removed the closure sign.
All skate and bike park users are reminded to continue practising social distancing and good hand hygiene in line with the remaining restrictions.
Outdoor Sporting Facilities: Open
Outdoor sport facilities – such as golf courses and tennis courts - can open if people can exercise outside, equipment is not shared or rented, no indoor facilities or shared facilities (except toilets) are used, and people must be able to keep 1.5 metres distance between each other.
Outdoor exercise, classes and training can resume for up to ten people - plus the trainer. You should keep 1.5 metres between yourself and others and make sure any equipment is cleaned between users.
Outdoor non-contact sport can resume for adults. Non-contact sport is any sport where you can maintain 1.5 metres between yourself and others while playing. You can play sport with the number of people required to play plus necessary coaches and umpires. Spectators are not allowed.
Outdoor sport can resume for people who are 18 years of age and younger. This includes contact sport. You can play sport with the number of people required to play plus necessary coaches and umpires. Spectators are allowed if they are supervising children or supporting players with additional needs, while maintaining gathering limits of less than ten people.
Horse-riding is allowed with members of your household or one other person, with an instructor if required.
Indoor Sporting Facilities: Closed
Indoor sporting facilities, including halls, stadiums, and sports changerooms remain closed at this stage of the Victorian Government's reopening roadmap.
In line with Golden Plains Shire and the rest of regional Victoria moving to Step Three of the Victorian Government’s reopening roadmap, campgrounds in Golden Plains Shire reopened on Thursday 17 September.
Council has removing the closure signs posted at these locations:
- Inverleigh - Leigh River South
- Pollocksford Bridge
- Bunjul Lookout
- Smythesdale Public Gardens
- Haddon Lions Park
At each stop, Council officers will inspected the site and surrounds, logged any maintenance works, cleaned up any rubbish at the site, and removed the closure sign.
Community Centres: Closed
In line with the Victorian Government's remaining restrictions, community centres in Golden Plains Shire are still closed until further notice. These locations are the Bannockburn Cultural Centre, The Well in Smythesdale and Meredith Community Centre.
Change to Council Events, Engagements and Programs: Current as of Monday 26 October, 2020
Geelong Regional Library Corporation (GRLC) has reopened its services, including the Bannockburn and Golden Plains Mobile Libraries, following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.
The Bannockburn Library at 25-27 High Street reopened on Monday 26 October, with some temporary changes to opening hours until further advised:
Monday: 10am to 1pm
Tuesday: 10am to 5pm (closed for lunch from 1 to 2pm)
Wednesday: 10am to 5pm (closed for lunch from 1 to 2pm)
Thursday: 10am to 5pm (closed for lunch from 1 to 2pm)
Friday: 10am to 5pm (closed for lunch from 1 to 2pm)
Saturday: 9am to 12pm
From 29 October 2020, the Golden Plains Mobile Library will resume its normal schedule without Saturday visits until further advised:
Meredith: Thursday 9 to 10.30am
Rokewood: Thursday 11.45am to 1pm
Dereel: Thursday (except last of the month): 2.15 to 3pm
Grenville: Thursday (last of the month): 2.15 to 3pm
Enfield: Thursday: 3.30 to 4.30pm
Haddon: Friday 9 to 10am
Smythesdale: Friday 10.30 to 12pm
Linton: Friday 1.30 to 2.45pm
Cape Clear: Friday 3.15 to 4pm
For more information, including stop addresses, click here.
Visitor numbers will be restricted in line with Victorian Government COVID-19 restrictions, with strict hygiene, face covering and social distancing rules in place. GRLC’s book quarantine process will continue.
GRLC will continue to provide its Click & Collect service for library members in Golden Plains Shire, with the Click & Deliver service available to library members who meet certain eligibility criteria. Mobile library customers can also choose to collect holds and return collection items contact-free at their designated stop.
For more information, visit grlc.vic.gov.au/coronavirus.
Until further notice, all scheduled meetings of Council are accessible to the public via the livestream on Council's YouTube channel. For more information on Council Meetings, visit https://www.goldenplains.vic.gov.au/residents/my-council/about-council/meetings-minutes-and-agenda
Support for Business
Recognising that these restrictions are having a devastating impact on business and the economy, both Federal and State Governments have introduced a range of support and assistance packages for businesses.
For a listing of where businesses can go for information, resources and support in relation to COVID-19, visit goldenplains.vic.gov.au/business/covid-19-business-support.
In addition to creating this information resource, Council’s Investment Attraction and Business Support team have also been busy: checking-in on businesses to see how they have been impacted; sending business support e-newsletters; developing a business listing of those businesses still operating for Council’s website; providing regular updates to State and Federal Governments on the impact to Golden Plains businesses; and working on making Council’s small business training/mentoring programs remotely accessible.
Golden Plains Shire Council has confirmed the following financial support measures for local business, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic:
- 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: goldenplains.vic.gov.au/business/be-kind-business
- Dedicated COVID-19 business support page on Council's website with links to Federal and State Government programs: goldenplains.vic.gov.au/business/covid-19-business-support
- Access to dedicated business support officer within Council for local businesses to receive individual assistance
- Council will continue budgeted capital works as scheduled to maximise local business and employment opportunities
If you would like further information or to talk through your situation, please contact Council’s Investment Attraction & Business Support Team on 5220 7111 or email@example.com
Information and Advice on Coronavirus (COVID-19)
With a lot of attention in the media and online on the Coronavirus (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 has information and guidance on the current outbreak of coronavirus, which will be updated as the situation evolves. You can access this information and guidance at www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus.
The Department has also prepared information on ways to reduce your risk of contracting coronavirus. One of the best things residents can do every day to stop the spread of viruses like coronavirus is to practice excellent hand hygiene, and cough and sneeze etiquette. Residents can source information, including posters at www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/victorian-public-coronavirus-disease-covid-19.
If you have concerns about your health, it's best to contact your GP, or if you suspect you may have the coronavirus disease, please call the dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398. Please keep 000 for emergencies only.
Residents who have recently returned from overseas can also find information and advice at www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/victorian-public-coronavirus-disease-covid-19.