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A message to our community from Maranoa Regional Council
Over the last days and weeks, our region, like others across the globe, has heard much about the spread of COVID-19 (or coronavirus).
The COVID-19 outbreak in Australia is being managed as a health emergency, with both the Australian and Queensland Governments implementing measures as part of the pandemic response.
It is clear that daily life will change in the coming weeks and months. Most certainly we need to be paying close attention to the advice and updates that are being provided by the lead health agencies.
As our region's local government, we also want to be doing our part at a local level to support our community during this time.
All Councillors and our management team have worked together to identify ways that we can support our community, with a particular focus on those areas that Council can influence.
Our ten point action plan recognises that we are a major provider of services, many of which our residents rely solely on us to provide. As a major employer within the region, we also need to look after the health and wellbeing of our workers, volunteers and business partners.
The steps that Council will take in this first COVID-19 support package include the following:
1. Council events
Any Council events that were on the imminent horizon will not proceed as scheduled. Events such as Harmony Week, the Mitchell Tryathlon and Volunteers Week may be held at a later date.
In relation to community events, we have been advised that the Easter in the Country festival and Roma and Mitchell Shows have been cancelled. We anticipate receiving an update about the Wallumbilla Show in the near future.
2. Tourism facilities
Tourism Facilities are currently closed until further notice.
3. Cleaning of Council facilities
Cleaning arrangements for Council-owned facilities will be reviewed in accordance with the recommendations and guidelines released from the Australian and Queensland Governments. This will include customer service and public access areas.
4. Taking care of our workforce
Mindful that Council is a provider of essential services, we are committed to business continuity. Our key message to our team members is to be alert to the risks but not alarmed. As much as possible we want to provide services as normal, while doing our part to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus within the Maranoa community.
We are ensuring that the appropriate support is in place for our employees. This includes mandatory isolation periods for any team members returning from international travel, health and safety information and leave arrangements if unwell including for casual workers.
In our own workforce, we are cancelling any visiting professionals and non-urgent meetings with those from outside the region. Similarly, there will be a temporary suspension of employee work related travel outside the region.
5. Saleyards visitations reduced
We are encouraging non-essential visitors to not attend the Saleyards.
6. Rates discount extended
To assist the community, the rates discount period has been extended from Friday, 3 April 2020 to Tuesday, 5 May 2020. This is in recognition that the original rates payment and discount period has coincided with this time of uncertainty.
7. Debt recovery on hold
We will pause debt recovery for all outstanding Council rates and charges (including gas) through to 5 May 2020. Council continues to offer payment arrangements and encourages contact with us if these need to be varied.
8. Hire fee refunds for Council facility bookings
Any fees and charges already paid for the forward booking of Council facilities during the months of March, April and May will be refunded where the organisers elect to cancel events to avoid the risk of mass gatherings.
9. Payment terms reduced until May
To assist businesses with cashflow during this period, we will make approved payments to suppliers of goods and services on a fortnightly basis, where possible, until the end of May.
10. Continued involvement in the Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG)
We will continue to participate in the Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG), which includes briefings from Queensland Health on the COVID-19 outbreak in Australia and the local coordinated response.
In closing, given that this is an unprecedented situation worldwide and more information is becoming available daily, we will continue to monitor the latest advice and adapt our operations as needed.
We recognise that we are not experts in the field of health. Therefore we will follow the advice provided by our local Queensland Health professionals who are coordinating the information and resources our communities need to manage the risk appropriately. If we receive information on COVID-19 which is of importance to our community we will also share that through our communication networks (including Council's website).
Further Council Facility closures due to COVID-19
The Australian Government has announced measures to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Council is required to abide by the directives and advice given to us by the Australian and Queensland Governments. These measures include the temporary closure of a number of facilities. The following Council facilities will be closed until further notice:
- Roma Swimming Pool
- Injune Swimming Pool
- Surat Swimming Pool
- Mitchell Swimming Pool
- Wallumbilla Swimming Pool
- The Great Artesian Spa in Mitchell (including Mitchell Gym)
- The Big Rig and Visitor Information Centre. The café at the Big Rig remains open for take-away
- The Roma Saleyards eatery dining area will be closed. Take-away will be available from the serving window (near the Interpretive Centre)
- Information Centres in Mitchell, Injune and Surat
- All Libraries and Art Galleries
- All Halls
- Cobb and Co Store Museum
- Bassett Park Facilities (excluding stables and racetrack)
- Roma Cultural Centre Auditorium
- Mitchell, Surat and Wallumbilla Showground Facilities (excluding public toilets)
- Surat Warroo Sporting Complex (excluding public toilets)
- Mitchell RSL & Combined Sports Club
- Roma PCYC
- Community Hub Training Room
- All parks
- All playgrounds
- All skate parks
- All outside gyms.
In addition, as part of social distancing requirements, Council will not be issuing any non-essential street stall permits until further notice.
Examples of non-essential street stalls include:
- Selling of raffle tickets
- Stalls selling items.
Please contact Council on 1300 007 662 if you require any information regarding these services whilst the above facilities are closed to the public.
Council appreciates your understanding as the safety of our community and teams is paramount at this time.
Maranoa Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG) meets to discuss COVID-19
Thursday, 26 March 2020
Yesterday (25 March 2020) members of the Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG) met to discuss the evolving COVID-19 situation.
To date there are no positive COVID-19 cases in the Maranoa area.
At the meeting, it was agreed that the Group move from the Alert stage to Lean Forward due to the increase in the number of overall COVID-19 cases in Australia and the new Australian and Queensland Government restrictions.
Under the Lean Forward stage, the LDMG will now be meeting on a regular basis, with the next meeting scheduled next week on Wednesday, 1 April 2020. In the meantime, members of the relevant agencies will continue monitoring the situation, and any further advice from the Australian and Queensland Governments.
The Group has been in contact with supermarkets, fuel suppliers and pharmacies across the region to monitor current stock and assess availability and continuity of supplies.
The LDMG and Council will continue to communicate with the community on further impacts.
The World Health Organization has announced that COVID-19 is a pandemic. Find out how we are monitoring and responding to the outbreak, how you can help slow the spread of COVID-19 in Australia, and what to do if you have symptoms.
The situation is changing rapidly. Stay up to date with the latest information about the spread of COVID-19 and the steps being taken to slow the spread.
Click below for more information about COVID-19.
Chief Health Officer Public Health Directives
All of the Queensland Chief Health Officer public health directives can be viewed here.
For public health directive enquiries/complaints in response to the COVID-10 pandemic (including complaints about persons who are breaching their quarantine or self-isolation directions), please call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84).
Community Recovery Hotline
The State Department Communities, Disability Services & Seniors has activated the Community Recovery Hotline 1800 173 349 to assist vulnerable people in home quarantine to secure essential food or medicines who have no other means or mechanisms of support.
Additionally, the Community Recovery Hotline is a free call number to link seniors and other vulnerable Queenslanders to essential services and support. To access, please call 1800 173 349.
Join the Care Army – Queensland needs you!
A Care Army of professionals and volunteers will rally around Queensland's seniors, to help ensure the wellbeing of older people during the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
The Care Army, being mobilised by the Queensland Government, is made up of everyday Queenslanders who want to help older people living in the community who may not have friends, family or neighbours who are able to support them.
To register to be part of the Care Army, please click here or call 1800 173 349.
Fact sheet - Community Recovery
COVID-19 Safe Connections
Social distancing and quarantine may slow the spread of COVID-19, but being at home in a violent or unhealthy relationship may not be the safest option. If you or a loved one are experiencing domestic or family violence, you are not alone. You can call the Lifeline Darling Downs Safe Connections team on 1800 991 443 (if living in South West Qld) or call the DV Connect 24/7 hotline on 1800 811 811 for support.
Assistance for Business
Maranoa Regional Council plays an important role in supporting business through this pandemic COVID-19. The following information provides links to government programs and assistance. It is important that you consult regularly as new programs and stimulus packages are announced daily.
Australian Government: https://www.business.gov.au
Queensland Government: https://www.business.qld.gov.au
Financial assistance, eligibility & support for Australian businesses affected by COVID-19.
Business may be eligible for:
- Increased instant asset write-off;
- Accelerated depreciation deductions (Backing Business Investment);
- Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) guarantee scheme. Providing a guarantee of 50% to SME business lenders for new unsecured loans for working capital;
- Temporary cash flow support;
- Assistance to pay wages for apprentices and trainees;
- Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses;
- Payroll Tax support;
- Early access to superannuation;
- Job keeper payment – Follow the links on the Australian Government web site and register your interest. Updates will be sent as they come available.
Services Australia: https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/
Information on the delivery of government payments and services. (Centrelink, Medicare, Child support, one off payments etc.)
- Chamber of Commerce Industry Queensland: https://www.cciq.com.au/
- Banks: The majority of Australian banks have announced various levels of support to their small business clients; deferring loans and payments, waiving merchant terminal fees and early redraw on term deposits. Consult your individual bank for their services.
- Rural Financial Business Counsellors: https://www.rfcssq.org.au/
Free impartial, confidential and responsive farm financial counselling for small rural related businesses.
- Maranoa Regional Council: http://www.maranoa.qld.gov.au/services/covid-19-health-alert
Information on local services including parks, libraries, swimming pools and other public spaces.
Department of Health: https://www.health.gov.au/
Frequently Asked Questions
If shows are cancelled, do we still get show holidays?
We have made enquiries on behalf of the community. At this stage, the advice we have received is that all show holidays will remain in place regardless of whether the events go ahead.
What is the latest for the Roma Saleyards?
Following further announcements from the Australian Government this week about local government community facilities, Maranoa Regional Council and the Roma Livestock Agents Association are taking additional proactive steps to limit the size of gatherings at Roma Saleyards Store Sales.
It is recognised that the Saleyards provide an essential service to the regional and Australian beef industry, and in these times it is particularly important that supplies to the market are maintained. Therefore, Roma Saleyards remains open for business and continues to encourage healthy competition with its weekly Tuesday Store Sales. However the increased measures are being introduced to ensure that only essential participants are onsite.
The health and wellbeing of registered buyers, agents and workers is our highest priority. To ensure their safety Maranoa Regional Council and Roma Livestock Agents Association are advising that entry to Roma Saleyards for sales will be limited to the following essential attendees:
- Essential agents
- Registered active buyers with genuine intention to purchase
- Saleyard workers (MRC staff, Contractors AAM Operations and Outcross Systems) and
- Transport coordinators (one representative from each company)
However, anyone experiencing cold or flu symptoms are requested to stay away from the facility altogether.
Every attendee will be required to register their attendance to be permitted entry (including all workers). If an attendee's presence is deemed non-essential, entry will not be granted.
Attendees will enter the Saleyards through one entrance which will be located on the entry to the main catwalk near the Stud Stock Selling Arena. Once onsite, attendees must practise social distancing by creating a 1.5m distance from others, exercise good hygiene i.e. wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and use hand sanitiser (which has been placed in key locations).
Transport operators will continue to report to the Load In/Out Office where they will register their attendance when cattle are delivered.
Vendors will shortly be updated through the Roma Livestock Agents Association, and the community will be updated through Council's communication networks.
Additional measures include the availability of disposable gloves and masks for those interested. Increased cleaning will be undertaken during peak periods.
The Roma Saleyards eatery (dining area) will remain closed with take-away food available from the serving window (near the Interpretive Centre). The Roma Saleyards tours remain temporarily discontinued and the Interpretive Centre closed until further notice.
Maranoa Regional Council and Roma Livestock Agents Association welcomes active buyers to the cattle auctions. However other people onsite will be limited to essential attendees.
We recognise that the management of this pandemic is continually evolving, with measures that can sometimes change on a near-daily basis. We will continue to monitor and implement any recommendations and control measures advised by the Australian and Queensland Governments.
Free online entertainment via Maranoa Libraries
Libraries may be closed, however residents with a Maranoa library card can still access eBooks, movies, magazines and much more for free by following the instructions in the flyers below.
They can be accessed from your phone or computer.
For assistance, or to obtain a Maranoa library card, please contact your local library on 1300 007 662.