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 BE KIND GOLDEN PLAINS
Changes to Council’s Services: Current as of Monday 1 June, 2020
Council’s Bannockburn, Linton and Smythesdale Customer Service Centres are temporily closed for face-to-face interactions. Customers will still be able to contact the Customer Service team during this time by:
Residents who use Council's sharps containers collection and drop-off service and require sharps containers, please contact Council’s Customer Service team on 5220 7111 to discuss the new arrangements.
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.
Maternal and Child Health
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. 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
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.
In person consultation meetings for statutory planning applications will not be convened for a temporary period. Council will continue to meet its statutory obligations in assessing and making planning related decisions. Please note that Council’s practice of applications with objections being decided by Council at its formal Ordinary meetings will continue. For more information, call Council's Statutory Planning Team at 5220 7183.
Golden Plains Farmers' Market
Unfortunately, the Golden Plains Farmers' Market will not go ahead next Saturday 6 June, 2020. With the progressive lifting of restrictions, Council is hopeful the physical market will be back in July. In the meantime, don't forget you can contact many of your favourite stallholders through the Golden Plains Virtual Farmers' Market here.
Changes to Council’s Facilities: Current as of Monday 1 June, 2020
Outdoor Recreation Facilities: Open
A selection of popular outdoor recreational locations including tennis courts have been reopened in Golden Plains Shire Council. Following the Victorian Government’s easing of COVID-19 restrictions, some recreational and sporting activities have been given the green light to resume across the State including outdoor group fitness, tennis, bowls, golf, equestrian activities, fishing and boating. Please note: all playgrounds, skate parks, bike parks and campgrounds across the Shire remain closed.
Playgrounds, Skate Parks and Bike Parks: Open
Outdoor playgrounds, skate parks and bike parks were reopened for play in Golden Plains Shire from Tuesday 26 May. In line with Victorian Government advice and in the interest of ongoing public safety, social distancing recommendations and gathering limits are still in place.
In line with the Victorian Government's advice, campgrounds in Golden Plains Shire reopened on Monday 1 June, with gathering limits. Residents and visitors can now access the following back country camping locations: Inverleigh – Leigh River South; Pollocksford Bridge; Bunjil Lookout; Smythesdale Public Gardens; and Haddon Lions Park.
Public toilets will be open at or near these locations however, in line with current restrictions, shared facilities including BBQs will not be available.
The Victorian Government has advised that community centres can reopen from 1 June, with a maximum of 20 people in a single space. Council is finalising a plan to welcome back community groups to the Bannockburn Cultural Centre, The Well in Smythesdale and the Meredith Community Centre for the allowed activities from Tuesday 9 June. Some programs including exercise and group training classes are still restricted under the Victorian Government guidelines at this time. Social distancing and health and hygiene practises will be in place, with additional cleaning protocols at the centres. Individuals or community groups with questions about booking the centres can call Council at 5220 7111.
Changes to Council Events, Engagements and Programs: Current as of Monday 1 June, 2020
The Geelong Regional Library Corporation has announced that the Bannockburn Library will reopen with shorter operating hours from Tuesday 9 June, with normal hours to resume from Monday 6 July. The mobile library will resume its full service from Tuesday 9 June, with all scheduled visits as usual, allowing for possible short delays due to a new cleaning protocol following every stop.
With the health and wellbeing of the community and staff the top priority, social distancing, visitor number restrictions and strict hygiene protocols will apply. For full details, visit the Geelong Regional Libraries Corporation website: grlc.vic.gov.au
Inverleigh Structure Plan Panel Hearing
Planning Panels Victoria has advised that the panel hearing for the Golden Plains Planning Scheme Amendment C87: Inverleigh Structure Plan has been postponed until further notice. The hearing will proceed in the form presented in the timetable at future dates and parties to the hearing will be given advance notice of these dates. Residents with questions can contact Council’s Strategic Planning Team Leader at 5220 7271 or email email@example.com
In line with the new restrictions from the Australian and Victorian Governments, Council has been advised that the YMCA Bannockburn at 132 Milton Street, Bannockburn is closed to the public until further notice. For more information, call 5281 2316.
Until further notice, all scheduled meetings of Council will be held at the Golden Plains Civic Centre, 2 Pope Street, Bannockburn. The meetings 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.