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Impact on Council Services

Current as at: 5 August 2020

Wearing a Face Mask or Covering - effective Monday 3 August 2020

As per the recent State Government announcement, all residents in the Southern Grampians Shire and regional Victoria are required, effective Monday 3 August 2020 to wear a face covering when leaving their residence. This includes when accessing Council services and facilities such as HILAC, Library, Gallery etc. Residents are reminded that those who do not wear a face mask or covering will be denied entry to Council facilities and services. Community members are also required to supply their own face mask or covering. For more information, visit www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/face-coverings-regional-victoria-coronavirus-covid-19.

Contact Council on 5573 0444 for more information or Visit Greater Hamilton for information on local suppliers for reusable masks.

Given the rapidly evolving situation we face in relation to the COVID-19 virus, Southern Grampians Shire Council has taken steps as a precautionary measure to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community, protect our staff, volunteers and visitors, and play our role in the national response to limiting transmissions.

In line with Federal and State Government recommendations, we will be practising social distancing by cancelling all non-essential public gatherings for the foreseeable future. Evidence from around the world has shown that pre-emptive measures are extremely effective in containing the spread of the disease.

We are in regular talks with Western District Health Service (WDHS) and the State and Federal Governments to keep abreast of any changes to our information.

Our key objectives:

  • Contain the impact of the disease;
  • Maintain a healthy workforce;
  • Provide strong leadership across the Southern Grampians Shire; and
  • Keep residents and business informed about what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.

We are encouraging residents to:

  • Remain calm;
  • Follow all state and federal government advice;
  • This is about distancing yourself, but not social isolation; and
  • Look out for each other, check on your neighbours and provide assistance where necessary

It's important to remember, this is an extremely fluid situation and events are changing daily.

To achieve these objectives, we will be making the following changes to services provided by SGSC for the foreseeable future:

Customer Service Centres:

The Customer Service Centre at Brown Street will remain open from 8:15am – 5:00pm Monday to Friday. Market Place will be closed for face-to-face transactions from 5:00pm Wednesday 5 August 2020. Our staff at Market Place will remain onsite to answer calls and emails from Monday to Friday 8:15am - 5:00pm. Residents can continue to make enquiries via phone 5573 0444 or via email at council@sthgrampians.vic.gov.au.

Restrictions will apply on the number of customers permitted at Brown Street at any one time and customers will be required to leave their details for the purposes of contact tracing. Increased hygiene measures will be introduced and physical distancing restrictions will be enforced. Residents can continue to make enquiries via phone 5573 0444 or via email at council@sthgrampians.vic.gov.au.

Visitor Information Centres

Visitor Information Centres are closed to the public but staff are on hand to take enquiries over the phone 1800 807 056 or email hvic@sthgrampians.vic.gov.au. Updates are available via www.visitgreaterhamilton.com.au.

Cultural Services

The Greater Hamilton Library will be closed for face-to-face contact from 4:00pm Wednesday 5 August 2020. Digital services are still available through library memberships. Contact the Library on 5573 0470 for more information. 

Digital Services at the Greater Hamilton Library are still available to borrow through your library membership. Borrowers can access eBooks, eAudiobooks, magazines and newspapers, and over 30,000 plus free movies. Storybox library is also available with online stories for children.

For all digital resources:
• Visit www.centralhighlandslibraries.org.au.
• Select "Online Information and Databases" to access the Storybox library or select "eResources" for all other options.
• Download the apps on your devices, create an account using your library card number and pin number.

For assistance and more information, contact the Greater Hamilton Library on 5573 0470 or via email at library@sthgrampians.vic.gov.au.

The Hamilton Gallery will be closed from 5:00pm Wednesday 5 August 2020.

The Hamilton Performing Arts Centre will remain closed from Wednesday 5 August 2020 during the reintroduction of Stage 3 restrictions.

As of Monday 3 August 2020, Hamilton Cinema will be temporarily closed due to low patronage during the COVID-19 pandemic. Council will closely monitor the situation in our community and review this decision over the coming months, taking into consideration advice from State Government and industry.

Council Meetings and Engagement Sessions

Council meetings will be live-streamed via council’s Facebook page. We encourage you to engage with the meeting in this format. All other Council organised engagement sessions and events (eg Listening Posts, community meetings, DISA 2020 Festival) will also be cancelled for the foreseeable future.

Recreational Facilities

The Hamilton Indoor Leisure and Aquatic Centre (and all associated facilities including Vitality Gym and swimming pool), will be closed from 8:00pm Wednesday 5 August 2020. HILAC Occasional Care will remain open.

Lake Hamilton

All public boat ramps, piers and jetties are open for recreational boating and fishing but limits of two people per vessel or family members only apply. People are permitted to canoe, kayak, row or paddleboard for exercise.

Council Operated Caravan Parks

Council operated caravan parks in Penshurst and Coleraine will be closed from 11:59pm Wednesday 5 August 2020 with the exception of those who reside within the parks on a permanent basis.

Playgrounds

Playgrounds and skate parks will be closed from 11:59pm Wednesday 5 August 2020.

Hamilton Regional Livestock Exchange

Will remain operational however access to HRLX weekly sales will be limited to buyers, stock agents, transport operators and council staff. The general public will not be able to attend, even if they are sellers at the sale.

Waste Services

No changes will be made to household waste and recycling services at this point.

Transfer stations across the Southern Grampians Shire will return to pre-COVID-19 operating hours to the general public from 6 July 2020.

All facilities now have EFTPOS available and will be accepting EFTPOS only. No cash payments will be accepted.

Visit Council's Transfer Station Locations & Opening Times for more information.

Youth and Childcare services

The L2P program will be closed during the reintroduction of stage three restrictions. Family Day Care is to remain available until the Department of Education advises that the service should not be operated. We will advise educators and families if this status changes.

Maternal and Child Health

Council will conduct the Maternal Child Health service via phone only basis. Anyone who had a scheduled appointment will be contacted by the Maternal Child Health nurses. If face-to-face appointments are required (immunisations, key age and stage appointments) 15 minute appointments will be scheduled. We ask that if you are unwell you please reschedule your appointment.
Please contact the Frances Hewitt Community Centre on 5551 8450 if you have any concerns or queries.

Senior Citizens Centre

Centres are not operated by Council, however we will be contacting each centre and advising of the social distancing guidelines and encouraging the centres to not operate during the pandemic.

Flu vaccination programs will not be provided through the senior citizens centres this year, to avoid large gathering of at risk persons in one place. When flu vaccinations are available, they can be obtained through local medical practices and pharmacies.

Regulatory Services

Market Place customer service office will be closed for face-to-face contact from 5:00pm Wednesday 5 August 2020. Our staff are onsite to answer calls and emails from Monday to Friday 8:15am - 5:00pm. Residents can continue to make enquiries via phone 5573 0444 or via email at council@sthgrampians.vic.gov.au.

Home and Community Care Services

Home and Community Care Services will continue to operate as per normal arrangements. Communication with clients has been conducted to advise that services will continue but will potentially be modified to ensure clients and staff are protected.

As the pandemic event impacts our community further, it is anticipated that our services in this area may be required to be extended to isolated residents who have no other means of social support

Meals on Wheels

Service continues to operate as normal, however meals will be delivered to clients by Council staff only.

Paying your accounts

You can still pay your accounts online and we encourage you to continue to do this whilst we are working on other methods such as direct debit.

Emailing of invoices is also a priority for Council so you get your accounts faster and so that we can communicate with you more efficiently. Please provide your email address if you haven’t already.

For more account information for individual groups of debtors please see the below:

Paying your accounts at Council

Business Support during COVID-19

Click here for local business support and information during COVID-19.

Council have contingency plans in place to keep essential services running even in the event that our workforce is affected by COVID-19. Southern Grampians Shire Council plans to redeploy and re-engage staff in key duties across the organisation to accommodate the changes necessary to provide council services during the outbreak and limit the impact on service delivery. Our priority is to continue providing support to vulnerable citizens who may be most seriously affected by this.

We will also be increasing the levels of cleaning at all of our facilities to ensure any potential spread of infection is minimised as much as possible.

At an operational level, Council has implemented a number of new health and safety measures within our workforce. This includes encouragement of flexible working arrangements, such as working from home, and cancellation of any non-essential meetings.

We are providing ongoing updates on our website and social media to ensure local residents have the latest information and advice about how COVID-19 is affecting the region and what they should do.

By taking these measures, we aim to help prevent a sharp spike in the number of infections – reducing the pressure on our health system and ensuring that everyone gets access to the care they need.

We appreciate the community’s understanding regarding this situation. For up-to-date information on Councils’ response and service impacts, please stay tuned to this website.

For anyone with concerns around COVID-19, please refer to the Health and Human Services departmental website: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus which provides up to date and accurate information.

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