COVID-19 – Update from Council 23 March

From Mayor Chris Sharples

Over the weekend and this morning (Monday) we have seen both the cases and the community response to COVID-19 escalate. This is as a direct result of the view at all levels of government that communities are not taking the threat of pandemic seriously.

Victoria has been in a State of Emergency for a week now and all levels of government have implemented precautionary measures to restrict the potential of transmission by restricting mass gatherings, unnecessary travel, meetings and face-to-face interactions to help ease the spike that will inevitably come from the spread of COVID-19.

This has clearly not worked and in our case here in Southern Grampians there appears to be an air of complacency that cannot continue. It is not the time for panic, it is a time for calm. A time for looking after each other, in particular those most vulnerable and isolated, but more importantly, it is now time to take measures rarely seen in Australia maybe since the Great Depression.

Southern Grampians Shire Council has already taken steps to address many of these including the closing of face-to-face service centres such as Customer Service and Visitor Information Centres (full list available here www.sthgrampians.vic.gov.au/coronavirus).

I want to assure the community that we are all in this together – we are still here in Hamilton and surrounding towns, ensuring that all essential services are being delivered, even though the way you contact us has changed. We are here with all agencies, especially Western District Health Service, working on keeping our community informed and safe but everyone has a role to play by adhering to the strict measures put in place over the weekend and Monday.

From CEO Michael Tudball

In addition to the measures put in place last week, from Tuesday 24 March 2020 until at least Tuesday 14 April 2020 there will be additional measures put in place to protect our community and staff. There will be more staff working from home and accessing their workplace and tasks digitally. This may mean that when you call for advice or support, it may be a return phone call or email that you receive in the first instance. Customer Service continues to be fully staffed to answer your enquiries and refer you to the appropriate service within or outside of Council.

Our outdoor workforce will continue most works at this time, subject to both government directions and safety of our workforce. If our workforce is impacted as a result of further changes, then potentially you may see grass may not being cut as regularly, Botanic Gardens maintenance may be impacted and so on. However, at this point we are maintaining our works plans for the foreseeable future. Additional effort into cleaning, waste management and customer service are priorities for Council.

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