The global impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is being felt across the community, business, health organisations and government.

A State of Emergency was declared by the Victorian Government on ensure that the response to COVID-19 is strategic and coordinated.

Council plays a key role in supporting our community during emergencies affecting the Shire, and this COVID-19 pandemic is no different.  Our focus for the foreseeable future is to ensure that we have the best chance of avoiding the severe impacts of COVID-19 and that we continue to support the community by providing essential services.

COVID-19 has impacted the way we do business at Hepburn Shire Council.  These impacts vary and may change as new information comes to hand and decisions are made by health authorities and governments.

Following are the ways you can contact Council as we continue to monitor the pandemic and plan for possible developments.

All non-essential face-to-face meetings have been suspended.

Click here for a directory of important contacts and numbers for COVID-19 support services

 

Media Releases

Media Release – Council Supporting Its Community and Business Through Coronavirus (COVID-19) – 30-03-2020

Media Release – Council Restricts Access to its Offices Due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) Threat – 18-03-2020

 

Helping Hepburn – How will Council support the community and businesses?

Council plays a key role in supporting our community and bsiness during emergencies affecting the Shire, and this COVID-19 pandemic is no different. Our focus for the foreseeable future is to ensure that we have the best chance of avoiding the severe impacts of the virus and that we continue to support the community by providing essential services.

“Helping Hepburn” is what we are here to do. Over the coming days and weeks we will be letting you know how we can help you, or alternatively point you in the right direction for information on other support services.
Like our Facebook page (@hepburncouncil) for the most current news and information on how we will be supporting our community and business during this difficult time.

 

 

Service Impacts & Support

Aquatics

All Swimming Pools,and the Creswick Splash park have closed for the 2019/20 season.

Artisan Agriculture Project

Agriculture at this time is seen as an essential service. We are hopeful that agricultural producers are able keep to growing, producing and trading, while abiding by all government recommendations (both State and Federal).

The applications for the Project Advisory Group are still open and interested community members are encouraged to apply by accessing the link below.  The first meeting was scheduled for 15 April 2020, however, it will be postponed to a date to be confirmed.

While not being able to meet in person, please keep in touch with Sharon Hebbard by phone or online meetings so we can continue to assist you.

Phone – 0456 610 261

Email – shebbard@hepburn.vic.gov.au

Website – https://www.hepburn.vic.gov.au/artisan-agriculture-project/

Cleaning and Building Maintenance

The Cleaning and Building Maintenance Teams continue to operate in servicing our Council assets.  We have increased cleaning in various facilities to ensure the safety of our community.

Should you notice issues at our public toilets or buildings in general, please log a request through the Council website. Otherwise please contact us via email or phone (details above).

Community Care (Aged and Disability Services)

The Community Care department will continue essential services to our clients at this time, which includes personal care, home shopping and domestic assistance.

Additional services can be arranged for clients where needs may have changed due to the current situation.

Please be advised that the Community Care Team can be contacted by phone and email.

Our office hours are 8.30am – 5.00pm Monday to Friday by phone 5345 8399.

An assessment can be held over the phone with our intake worker. Please call 5345 8399 or email  sbrasher@hepburn.vic.gov.au.

Community Engagement Session

Community engagement will not be held face to face.  Sessions will be postponed for the foreseeable future while we transition to an online platform.

Community Safety (Local Laws)

Our team is still out-and-about and will continue our important community safety role. We request that the community respect social distancing requirements should they be dealing with the team.

Cat trapping will be limited as we are unable to take bookings and accept bond payments. The community can still call the team to discuss the management of stray cats.

Community Partnerships

Staff are continuing with Community Planning and the Community Grants Program (with modifications to practice social distancing measures).

Community Wellbeing Plan

Council is working in partnership with Central Highlands Rural Health and other key stakeholders to investigate and implement initiatives and resources that can support the health and wellbeing of our local community in response to COVID-19.

Customer Service

Face-to-face customer service at our Duke Street Office (Daylesford), Creswick Hub and The Warehouse (Clunes) has closed.

While customers are not able to attend our centres, you will still be able to contact our Customer Experience Team to log any service requests, queries or make payments.

Following are the ways you can contact Council as we continue to monitor the pandemic and plan for possible developments.
– Online Customer Service Requests – www.hepburn.vic.gov.au.
– Phone – 5348 2306
– Email – shire@hepburn.vic.gov.au

Council Meeting

The next Ordinary Council Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday 21 April 2020 at 6.00pm.

At this stage this meeting is scheduled to take place and remains open to the public. Social distancing measures will be upheld to ensure the safety of Councillors, staff and the general public. However, given the current increased risk to public health due to COVID-19, and if there are any changes to public access and other details associated with the Ordinary Council Meeting, Council will notify the community as soon as practicable.

Economic Development

Our Economic Development team are still taking phone calls and responding to emails and will be available from 8.30am to 5pm Monday to Friday. You can contact them on 5321 6122 or 5321 6105 or email business@hepburn.vic.gov.au.

Staff are continuing to provide businesses and event operators support and guidance. This support includes:

  • access to the latest information on State and Federal Government support packages
  • continuing our role as a business liaison point for Council services as well as offering online business training packages
  • actively working with Daylesford Macedon Tourism to continue marketing the region and maintaining a Visitor Information Centre response by phone, email and website
  • Liaising with community event organisers such as Clunes Booktown, Trentham Spudfest and Swiss Italian Festa and all others affected by cancellations.

Business information and updates will be provided frequently on Council’s Facebook and via the Business eNewsletter as required.  Businesses can sign up to receive this via Council’s website www.hepburn.vic.gov.au/business-tourism/economic-development-enews/  

Emergency Management

Council is currently developing a Municipal Operation Centre, and is delivering its emergency management responsibilities. 

Engineering Department

Our engineering team is continuing to deliver technical services remotely. Engineering officers are regularly liaising with civil contractors working on behalf of Council to ensure safe delivery of services. 

Environmental Health

Our Environmental Health officers have been completely allocated to the Pandemic group to help manage the mitigation of health impacts from the COVID19 virus on the community.

Standard inspections, such as food premises and septics, will be a secondary priority at this stage and are likely to be suspended until the officers have more capacity.

Events

Our Events team are still taking phone calls and responding to emails and will be available from 8.30am to 5pm Monday, Wednesday and 8.30am to 1.30pm Tuesday and Thursday’s.

You can contact them on 0439 481 306 or email events@hepburn.vic.gov.au.

For event information www.visithepburnshire.com.au.   

Finance

The Finance department is operational and will be supporting businesses by improving cash flow by paying all approved invoices in a weekly cycle, and not the normal 30-day period.

Governance

The Governance team will continue to carry out its core functions. We will receive guidance from Local Government Victoria on how implementation of the Local Government Act 2020 and General Elections will be rolled out.

Health and Wellbeing

We are working in partnership with Central Highlands Rural Health and other key stakeholders to investigate and implement initiatives and resources that can support the health and wellbeing of our local community in response to COVID-19.

Kerbside Collection

Collection of kerbside rubbish, recycling bins and public litter bins will continue as usual.

Library Services

All Hepburn Libraries have closed to the public and have suspended all services.

Services suspended include:

  • Face-to-face visitation
  • Home Library Service
  • Book Club set distribution
  • School holiday programs
  • Public programs
  • The collection of holds
  • The delivery of items in and out of our libraries.

All holds have been extended until 1 July 2020. We have suspended all notices and the after-hour return chutes are still open for you to return items.

Our Digital Library is still in operation, and a wide range of services and collections are available and accessible with your library card (visit www.centralhighlandslibraries.org.au). This includes E-books, E-audio Books, E-magazines, Newspapers from around the world, Knaopy Film streaming and Storybox Library.

Major Projects

The Major Projects team will continue to delivery important community projects. Contact with community will be avoided, as will direct contact with contractors.

Phone and email communication will be prioritised to ensure projects and contractors progress.

Maternal and Child Health

Maternal and Child Health will continue to be developed by our partner, Central Highlands Health.  MCH consultations will be conducted over the phone. Clients booked in over the next few days are being informed that we have transitioned to phone consultations until further notice.   To book or change appointments please call Maternal & Child Health Central Booking No – (03) 5345 9150.

Parks & Open Space Department

The Parks & Open Space team are out auditing and maintaining all Council sites as per our standard schedules, all whilst practising social distancing measures to keep the public and Council staff safe.

Planning & Building

Our Duke Street Office is closed to the public. Planning and Building are still accepting, processing and issuing permits, along with carrying out site inspections as required.  Officers are working predominately from home, so preferred contact with the community is via phone, email and electronic submission of applications.

Rates Hardship

During the worldwide COVID-19 Pandemic Hepburn Shire Council understands that this has increased the financial pressure on some of our ratepayers.

In recognition of this unprecedented situation, the Council has decided there will be no interest charged on outstanding balances from the 2019/20 rates charges for payments made before 30th September 2020.

As a result of this Hepburn Shire Council can enact the emergency clause of our current hardship policy. Any ratepayers who are suffering financial hardship can make an application for deferment of payment of rates and charges and interest.

The hardship assistance application is available to all ratepayers, not just residential ratepayers.

If financial hardship is determined, interest will not be charged, and no debt recovery action will be taken provided, agreed arrangements are upheld. Hardship arrangements will be reviewed once the pandemic situation is resolved to determine if circumstances have changed.

Click here to complete the Rates Hardship Form

If you have any issues completing this form online please call our Customer Service Team on 5348 2306.

Sport & Active Recreation

All aquatics facilities (e.g. pools and the Creswick Splash Park) are closed for the 2019/20 season. All Council owned sport and recreation club facilities  are closed, and local sporting competitions have been suspended.

Transfer Stations/Waste

Council will maintain kerbside waste collection service and a full or modified service at transfer stations (especially for residents without a kerbside collection).

All Transfer Stations remain open, however, the tip shops are closed.  We will no longer accept cash, with card and voucher payment only.

Visitor Information Centres

Our Visitor Information Centres have closed to the public, but are still taking phone calls and responding to emails from businesses and visitors, 9am-5pm 7 days per week.

You can contact them on 1800 454 891 or via email at visitorinfo@hepburn.vic.gov.au.

Works Department

 

Council Work’s Department will continue to maintain the road network and associated infrastructure. Social distancing measures are being practised to ensure the safety of staff and general public.

We are identifying and sourcing materials that may be impacted by supply issues. These include materials such as gravel, rock, workshop supplies and emulsion.

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