Some council services and facilities will be suspended or closed for the foreseeable future in an effort to help reduce the impact of Coronavirus in the Northern Grampians.
The decision comes following the State Government calling a State of Emergency in Victoria yesterday and will ensure essential services continue in the municipality with minimal disruption.
Our customer service offices in Stawell and St Arnaud will be closed to the public, unless by appointment, but our customer service staff will remain available to assist from 8.30am to 4.45pm, Monday to Friday over the phone or via email.
Entrance to customer service will be via the Entertainment Centre at the Stawell Town Hall and via the airlock at the door to the customer service area at the St Arnaud Office.
Council staff attended emergency meetings yesterday to discuss and assess the importance of services to the community in the event council and contractor staff are affected by the pandemic.
It was determined at those meetings the following services and facilities will be closed or suspended until further notice to ensure other essential services are maintained:
– Customer Service Centres in Stawell and St Arnaud will be closed from 4.45pm today.
– The Stawell Sports and Aquatic Centre will be closed from 7pm today. Membership payments have been suspended while the centre is closed.
– St Arnaud Swimming Pool will be closed from tomorrow.
– New event registrations will not be processed and bookings for council facilities have ceased.
– Supported playgroups have been suspended.
– Libraries in Stawell and St Arnaud will be shut from close of business today.
– Annual registered premises inspections will be deferred to a later date at this stage.
Essential services such as waste, community safety, building and planning, and public amenities will continue to operate but service and staff levels will be continually monitored and community notified of any additional changes.
Meals on Wheels will continue with council staff members instead of volunteers.
Northern Grampians Shire Council CEO, Liana Thompson, said suspending council services would help to limit the transfer of the Coronavirus illness throughout the community.
“It’s important we do everything we can to ensure the risk to the community is contained and minimised wherever we can, in any way we can,” she said.
“This is not a decision we have made lightly. We’ve decided to take this step after receiving expert advice and liaising with our neighbouring councils to assist in creating a coordinated regional response to this pandemic.”
“Now is a time we must look out for each other as a community and practise social distancing, thorough hygiene, and sensible preparation to ensure everyone has the best possible chance of avoiding this illness.”
Northern Grampians Shire Council Mayor, Murray Emerson, said now more than ever the community need to care for one another.
“We understand there will be some disappointment in the face of these closures but the health and safety of the community is our first concern,” he said.
“It’s going to be a difficult time for everyone in the coming weeks and months but I urge everyone to check in on your neighbours, leave enough essential items to go around, and behave in a responsible way to help contain the spread of this illness.”
“Information on this illness is moving very quickly so make sure you are staying up-to-date on the latest from reputable sources including the Department of Health and Human Services and the Chief Medical Officer.”
Visit council’s website (www.ngshire.vic.gov.au/coronavirus) for a full and detailed list of the changes to facilities and services or call