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.
- Online Customer Service Requests – https://hscsimplicity.knack.com/putting-the-customer-first-v2#newrequestpublic/
- Phone – 5348 2306
- Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
All non-essential face-to-face meetings have been suspended.
Support Services Directory
Building Community Resilience
We’ve heard some wonderful stories of how community members and groups throughout the Shire are running activities and programs designed to support their communities through isolation.
Congratulations and well done to those people and groups – there are stories of bringing hope, comfort and support to people who would have otherwise been isolated alone.
We have created a simple online form to capture all these great ideas. If you would like to let us know what you’re doing to help connect your community during COVID-19 we can help spread the word.
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
|All Swimming Pools, and the Creswick Splash park have closed for the 2019/20 season.|
Artisan Agriculture Project
|Agriculture is as an essential service. Agricultural producers are able keep to growing, producing and trading, while abiding by all government recommendations (both State and Federal).|
An Artisan Agriculture Project Advisory Group comprising local producers along with Council and State Government representatives is now in place and meeting regularly.
All enquiries contact: Artisan Ag Specialist Sharon Hebbard
Phone – 0456 610 261
Email – email@example.com
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 03 5321 6115.
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.
|Staff are continuing with Community Planning and the Community Grants Program (with modifications to practice social distancing measures).|
A new ‘COVID-19’ Community Grant program has been instigated to support our community. Coronavirus (COVID-19) Community Support Grants Program Guidelines
This Program opens 23 April 2020.
How to Apply
Follow this link to create your SmartyGrants log-in and complete the application.
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.|
|Recently the State Government passed legislation the COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) 2020 Act to allow council’s across Victoria to conduct it’s meetings virtually.|
To continue to protect the health and wellbeing of our Community, Councillors and Council Staff the Ordinary Council Meeting for 19 May 2020 will be held as a Virtual Council Meeting at 6pm. This will be livestreamed onto Council’s website and will be recorded for archiving purposes.
Public participation in Council meetings can still occur, although there are some minor amendments to process which are detailed here
|Our Economic Development team are continuing to provide businesses, tourism and event operators support and guidance including access to the latest information on State and Federal Government support packages.|
Tourism Marketing for the Shire is undertaken in collaboration with Daylesford Macedon Tourism and although our VIC’s are physically closed, we are maintaining a Visitor Information Centre service by phone, email and website.
Our Eco Dev team can be contacted by phone or email 8.30am to 5pm Monday to Friday on 5321 6122 or 5321 6105 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Council has set up an Emergency Management Team and Pandemic Municipal Operations Centre to manage Councils response to the COVID-19 Pandemic Emergency. A virtual relief centre has been created to ensure those who need support can call and access the information they need – call 5348 2306.|
|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. Current works are underway or imminent at School Road, Clunes and Back Glenlyon Road, Coomoora, traffic delays should be expected.|
|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.
|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 email@example.com.
For event information www.visithepburnshire.com.au.
|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.|
|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.|
|Collection of kerbside rubbish, recycling bins and public litter bins will continue as usual.|
|Council will commence a phased return of Library Services with modified operating hours and services in place at all sites.|
On 3.6.20 Council will commence a Click-and-Collect Service as a temporary service adjustment to provide core library services whilst we prepare our branches for re-opening. The Click-and-Collect program which started early June is now in operation across our Clunes, Creswick, Daylesford and Trentham sites. To support our community to stay safe and to avoid disappointment if accessing this service, please wait for confirmation that your items are ready for pick-up before attending the site.
As this is a phased reopening we still have a suspension on core services including: Face-to-face visitation, Home Library Service, Book Club set distribution, School holiday programs, Public programs and the delivery of items in and out of our libraries.
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.
|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
|Due to the increase in COVID 19 cases in Victoria and the tightening of the restrictions until 31 July, Hepburn Shire MCH Service, will be offering telephone consultations to all clients followed by a short face to face consultation all families to complete physical and Developmental assessments until 31 July. We will be following the CHO/Commonwealth advice, we ask that only one adult and the child/baby being assessed is brought to the consultation. To ensure the continued safety of our community we request that families only attend their appointment with the MCH nurse if well, have not been in close contact with positive Coronavirus case and do not have a fever or cough.|
Central Highland Rural Health have introduced a policy that all clients attending appointments within Central Highlands Rural Health facilities will undergo a temperature check upon arrival. If your temperature or your child’s temperature is above 37.5 you will need to go home and the MCH nurse will contact you to offer you another appointment.
Please remember to bring the Green Book, 2 bunny rugs, a clean nappy and a nappy sac with you to your appointment.
Our team would like to give a huge thank you to all our wonderful families for being so understandings in these unusual times we find ourselves in.
To make an appointment contact our central booking on 53216500. Our team will take your contact details and a MCH nurse will contact you to arrange your appointment.
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.|
|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.
If you have any issues completing this form online please call our Customer Service Team on 5348 2306.
Sport & Active Recreation
|Council playgrounds, skate facilities and outdoor fitness equipment have reopened inline with the easing of Corona virus (COVID-19) restrictions. Currently people should not gather in more than groups of 10, and stay 1.5m apart from others where possible at playgrounds. From 11.59 pm on Sunday 31 May, this increases to up to 20 people. Council has installed signage to remind the community of appropriate social distancing measures and have scheduled regular cleaning of the playgrounds.|
Council owned sport and recreation club facilities are currently closed, and local sporting competitions have been suspended in accordance with restrictions. Council are continuing to work with clubs and associations to coordinate a safe return to play at the earliest possible time.
|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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
|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.