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Coronavirus COVID-19 response

Information regarding the novel coronavirus COVID-19 for the Mount Alexander Shire community.

Current situation

Council understands there is much concern about coronavirus (COVID-19) in the community and we are doing what we can to help reduce the impact and spread of the virus.

We have activated our regional pandemic and business continuity plans to ensure we continue the delivery of essential service, while placing priority of the health of our community, staff and volunteers.

Some Council facilities have been closed and service changes are in place to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

Australia does not currently have widespread community transmission of the disease. However the situation is changing daily. We are making decisions based on the most recent advice from state and federal health authorities.

The Department of Health and Human Services is the lead agency in Victoria, and is working with Commonwealth and international agencies to respond to the outbreak.

The best place for up-to-date information relevant to Victoria is www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/novelcoronavirus or the 24 hour hotline 1800 675 398.

The Australian Government Department of Health website is a useful resource at www.health.gov.au.

Key events

  • On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organisation announced that COVID-19 is a pandemic.
  • The Victorian Government declared a State Of Emergency on Monday 16 March 2020.
  • The National Cabinet has shut down non-essential activity across the country.
  • Council facilities have been closed and service changes are in place to help limit the spread of COVID-19.
  • Planned events have been cancelled or postponed.

Changes to Council services

Read a summary of changes to Council services below due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Customer Service Centre

Public access to our Customer Service Centre in Castlemaine is now closed. It closed at 12noon on Monday 23 March until further notice.

We encourage you to stay in touch. You can still contact us via telephone, email and our service request system.

Customer service telephone number – 5471 1700
General email – info@mountalexander.vic.gov.au
Lodge a service request.

Customers can continue to make payments online, by phone or 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 Castlemaine and Maldon Visitor Information Centres are closed to the public until further notice. The centres closed at midday on Monday 23 March. Staff at the Visitor Information Centres are available from 9.00am to 5.00pm every day on 1800 171 888.

Planning enquiries

With the Customer Service Centre currently closed to the public, 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 a planning online service request.

Venues, events and community facilities

Council events are cancelled. Venues, recreation and community buildings are closed to the public. Public toilets remain open with altered cleaning measures in place. We have stopped taking bookings for venues listed below, and been in touch with anyone who had made a booking.

• Phee Broadway Theatre
• Castlemaine Town Hall
• Castlemaine Botanical Gardens Tea Rooms
• Ray Bradfield Room
• Castlemaine Senior Citizens Centre
• Chewton Senior Citizens Centre

Parks, reserves and playgrounds

Parks and reserves remain open for essential activities such as exercise within public gathering rules.
Council-managed public playgrounds, skate parks and BMX parks are now closed.
Public toilets remain open with altered cleaning measures in place.
It is important you practice good hygiene and follow social distancing rules at all times.

Waste facilities

Additional measures are in place at our Castlemaine and Maldon waste facilities to reduce risks associated with COVID-19.

Please do not visit the facilities if you are unwell or have travelled overseas in the past 14 days.

For those attending we ask that you:

• Make sure your items can be lifted into the bins by yourself as staff will not be able to help due to social distancing rules.
• Avoid taking heavy items or bed mattresses as they are not able to be disposed of at this time.
• Understand the need to temporarily close Paddy’s market.

Payment at Castlemaine Waste Facility is by card / EPTPOs only.

Works and maintenance requests

We are aiming to deal with as many requests as possible with a reduced capacity in our Works Unit. The priority for the team is road hazards, followed by maintenance tasks. While there may be delays please be assured the team is working to attend to service requests as quickly as possible.

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

The Goldfields Library Corporation made the decision to close libraries across the region until 14 April. Information can be found at www.ncgrl.vic.gov.au/covid19.

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:

• Shopping for clients using notes and supporting client with online shopping and grocery delivery services
• Essential personal care services to assist with daily living
• Essential home safety services; and
• Support for clients to complete their home exercise program by telephone.

Council staff are still delivering Meals on Wheels, and are supporting clients on the vulnerable persons register to determine additional needs for support.

We are minimising face-to-face contact, adhering to strict hygiene and personal protection requirements, and following social distancing rules to reduce the risk of infection.

To reduce community transmission, Council has temporarily put the following programs on hold until further notice:

• Home care (from 30 March)
• Home care cooking (from 30 March)
• Foot care services (from 30 March)
• Respite care which provides relief for carers (from 19 March)
• Social support programs and group activities (from 19 March)

Council continues to phone 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. Letters have been sent to affected clients and staff will continue to keep them informed of service changes.

Maternal and Child Health Services

Alterations to services to the program are:
• The National Immunisation Program Immunisations for Children 0-6yrs will continue by appointment only.
• Please do not attend the centre unless you have spoken to a nurse on 5472 1364, or if you or your child has been unwell.
• There will be no drop in or group sessions for the forseeable future, including New Parent Groups and Sleep and Settling.
• The use of the centre as a feed and change facility is not encouraged at this time. We apologise for the inconvenience.

Castlemaine Community House

Closed its doors effective 18 March 2020. All classes, programs and services will be closed until advice further notice.

You can still get in touch with Castlemaine Community House on 5472 4842 or customerservice@cch.org.au or email the Community Development team or Management team.

Centre for Non-Violence

The Centre for Non-Violence (CNV) has changed the way it provides family violence services, based on advice provided by the Department of Health & Human Services, the Victorian and Federal Governments and health experts.

CNV is committed to protecting the health and safety of our staff, clients and the wider community, and reducing the risk of COVID-19. Services are still available in a reduced capacity.

Face-to-face appointments and walk-in queries are not available. Services are running by phone where possible, or via the On-Site Service Delivery team.

If you are experiencing family violence and require assistance, please call CNV on free call 1800 884 292 throughout the Loddon area.

For more information visit www.cnv.org.au.

VCAT

No face-to-face hearings have been scheduled, and all non-critical cases which are listed up to and including 17 April 2020 will be adjourned for the foreseeable future.

Residential Tenancies and Guardianship matters (and a small number of other critical matters) will be heard by telephone. Read more.

Stay up to date with the latest information at www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus.

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