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Update on Council services

Sunset in Castlemaine

This page provides a summary of changes to Council services in response to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Victoria's is currently in a State of Emergency to manage the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and is operating under COVIDSafe Setting. Read more about the how we live and work under COVIDSafe restrictions.

Essential services

Council services have been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We are currently reviewing our services in line with the recently announced restrictions. Throughout the pandemic we have continued to essential services with some changes to how we deliver them. These include:

• Meals on Wheels and In-Home Help Services to support the most vulnerable members of our community
• House-hold bin collections for waste and recycling
• Planning applications and building services
• Maternal and child health services and immunisations
• Local laws and public safety
• Environmental health
• Emergency management including coordination of relief and recovery

Customer Service Centre

Please note public access to our Customer Service Centre in Castlemaine has reopened for face-to-face services including general queries, pet registrations and payments. The technical desk has also re-opened for queries and permit advice regarding building, septic tanks, business and food registrations, local laws permits and planning (see below), subject to staff availability.

Precautions in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19 include:

• Limits on the number of people in the area
• Floor markers to help maintain safe physical distancing
• Hand sanitiser available at entry points
• Customer QR code check in or registration slips to facilitate contract tracing
• Signage to manage the flow of people in and out of the building, and
• Perspex screens to protect customers and visitors.

Staff are continuing to respond to other customer service requests by phone, email and online. Council can be contacted in several ways:

Lodge a service request via our website
• Email us at info@mountalexander.vic.gov.au for a general query
• Email us at covid19@mountalexander.vic.gov.au for a specific query about what council is doing to respond to coronavirus.
• Call us on 5471 1700 between 8.30am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday.

Customers can continue to make payments online, by phone, or via BPAY at www.bpay.com.au.

For more information visit our payment options page. Please get in touch if you are unable to make a payment or are experiencing financial hardship.

Visitor Information Centres

Our Visitor Information Centres in Castlemaine and Maldon are open from 9.00am to 5.00pm each day to help visitors with accommodation bookings, souvenirs and things to see and do in the shire.

Staff are also available to offer assistance by phone 1800 171 888, seven days a week to ensure visitors and local businesses are supported at this time.

Planning enquiries

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we have made some changes to how we respond to town planning enquiries.

Planning applications

If you have an enquiry that relates to a specific planning application under consideration, please refer to your correspondence from Council and contact the name council officer on the number provided.

General queries

If you have a general planning query that does not relate to a specific application already under consideration, please lodge an online planning service request.

Planning staff are now available at the technical desk in the Customer Service Centre on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Venues and community facilities

Our public toilets are open with strict cleaning procedures in place. Indoor sports facilities at sports and recreation reserves are operating as per current public health restrictions. We are working with management committees and user groups to support COVIDSafe operations. Please check with individual clubs and committees on what is permitted and open.

Council's venues are also open again subject to public health guidelines.

Indoor spaces
Our indoor venues are open again and available for limited hire.

To ensure we help keep our community safe, we have made some changes to hirer responsibilities.

Please read our updated venue hire terms and conditions, which include COVID-19 guidelines to ensure you can comply with all requirements before booking a space. Then complete our Venue Hire Online Form and we will be in touch to confirm availability via email.

Outdoor spaces
Council is committed to supporting local businesses and the mental and physical wellbeing of the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are encouraging any groups requiring outdoor space in public parks and gardens to book one of our outdoor spaces to continue classes or activities or classes. This will help us ensure our popular parks and gardens aren’t overwhelmed and everyone can continue to come together safely.

Bookings can be made via our Venue Hire Online Form.

View our Outdoor space use terms and conditions.

Please contact the Venues and Events team on 03 5471 1700 if you have any questions.

Events

Throughout different stages of the pandemic, Council may need to cancel or postpone face-to-face events in response to restrictions on non-essential public gatherings and activities. This includes volunteer workshops, information sessions, exhibitions, festivals, youth markets, and open days. Council continued to run youth programs, business workshops, Council Meetings and selected community forums and events online.

We continue to review event opportunities now that restrictions have eased. If you are planning on running a public event, you will need to comply with the Public Events Framework. For more information visit our
events planning page.

Parks, reserves and playgrounds

Public playgrounds, skate parks and BMX parks are open.

Parks and reserves are open for outdoor recreation and exercise within public gathering rules.

Public toilets are open with strict cleaning measures in place.

It is important you practice good hygiene and follow social distancing rules at all times.

You must carry a face covering with you and wear it when you can't safely stay 1.5 metres apart.

Waste services

Kerbside bin collection for waste and recycling is operating as usual.

Payment at the Castlemaine facility is by EFTPOS /card only.

Due to physical distancing measures heavy items that you cannot lift into the bins yourself, and mattresses, are still not accepted at this time.

Stay at home if you are unwell.

Works and maintenance requests

Our Works Unit is continuing to deal with as many requests as possible, while working under COVIDSafe conditions. Road hazards remain a priority, followed by maintenance tasks. Please be assured the team is working to attend to service requests as quickly as possible.

Aged Care Services

Council has made some changes to the delivery of Aged Care Services and is continuing to support the most vulnerable members in the community. The service alterations are in response to State and Federal Government requirements and advice from health authorities on hygiene, service restrictions and social distancing.

Public health and safety is our priority, and any decisions have been made with strong regard to the vulnerability and high risk of infection for clients, and to protect carers, volunteers and staff.

Council is currently delivering the following in-home services:

• Home Care
• Personal care
• Foot care
• Home safety/modifications
• Property maintenance
• Note shopping
• Home exercise programs
• Respite care
• In home cooking
• Assessments
• Access and support

Staff continue to deliver Meals on Wheels and support clients on the vulnerable persons register to determine additional needs for support throughout the pandemic.

Additional contact, adhering to strict hygiene and personal protection requirements, and following social distancing rules have been expanded in order to reintroduce face-to-face assessments and supports as required. Staff continue to wear the required personal protective equipment. Where possible we require clients to also wear masks during a visit or service.

To reduce community transmission, our social support programs and group activities are temporarily on hold until further notice.

Council continues to maintain contact with clients, and/or their families and carers, to advise them of changes to their services, check how they are doing and help them prepare for the transition, with referral to alternative providers where possible.

We continue to send newsletters to clients who have requested them and staff continue to keep clients informed of any changes or reinstatement of services.

Maternal and Child Health Services

Essential maternal and child health services, including National Immunisation Program immunisations for children up to six years are continuing by appointment only. Contact the centre on 5472 1364 to speak to a nurse on before visiting, and stay at home if you or your child are feeling unwell.

Drop in and group sessions such as New Parents Groups are on hold. The use of the centre as a feed and change facility is not permitted at this time. We apologise for the inconvenience.

Youth services

Our Mondo Lounge Youth Space on Friday afternoons has restarted face-to-face activities as part of program to connect and engage young people aged 12 - 25 at this time. Stay-up-to date via our youth website and social media pages.

Updates on other services

We have been advised of the following changes in services that are provided to our community by other organisations or groups.

Castlemaine Library

Castlemaine Library is open to the public again within Victorian Government guidelines. To keep everyone safe please following the guidelines when visiting.

For more information visit www.ncgrl.vic.gov.au/covid19 and stay connected on Facebook.

Community centres

Castlemaine Community House
Castlemaine Community House (CCH) has resumed a number of courses, activities and services. Centrelink agency services, financial counselling, tax help and no interest loans are available by appointment. Call 5472 4842 to book. For more information about CCH services call 5472 4842 or visit www.cch.org.au.

Maldon Neighbourhood Centre
Maldon Neighbourhood Centre is currently open. Find out what programs are running and to view the centre's COVIDSafe plan contact Maldon Neighbourhood House on 5475 2093 or visit www.maldonnc.org.au.

CHIRP Community Health Services

CHIRP Community Health has reopened its doors during business hours from Monday to Friday, except between 12.30pm and 1.30pm each day. The doors close at 4.30pm on Friday.

Staff continue to deliver telephone support and most services by telehealth. Critical clinical services are provided face-to-face.

If you need support, information, advice on who to contact or what to do, or need to talk to someone, call CHIRP on 5479 1000.

Staff can provide information about local services and resources, offer emotional support and practical advice on coping, or provide referral you to an appropriate service. For more information visit www.chirp.org.au.

CHIRP also offers a Justice of the Peace service from 1.00pm to 3.00pm on Tuesdays by appointment only. Call reception to make an appointment.

Pop-up-testing clinic
CHIRP is currently operating a drive-through COVID-19 screening clinics every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 10.30am to 11.30am. If you have symptoms or require a test please call 5479 1000 to make an appointment.

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