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Novel Coronavirus Pandemic 2020

Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has affected people from many countries around the world. As this is a new virus, we are learning things about it all the time. Council is receiving information daily from the Australian and State Governments, led by the Department of Health, as key agency. Here, we have compiled the most relevant and up-to-date information and resources.

Jump to Health & Business Resources  |  Jump to News & Messages History


Standing Directives

(last updated 6:30pm Friday, 27 March 2020, see the history of directives)

Australian and State Government

Schools & Education

The Term 1 break now starts on Monday, 30 March for all state school students. Five (5) student free days have been declared for 30 March - 3 April. For students at home, teaching and learning resources are available through the Department of Education's learning@home website. -  FAQ

Travel

  • Any non-citizens or residents are banned from travelling to Australia
  • All Australians are advised not to travel at this time.
  • Queensland has announced border closures. Anyone entering from interstate travel is to self-isolate for fourteen (14) days.
  • Anyone who has been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 and is feeling unwell, must self-quarantine for fourteen (14) days from the date of last contact.

Closed Facilities and Services (expect these measure to be in place until the end of September, at least)

  • Pubs, registered and licenced clubs (excluding bottle shops attached to these venues), hotels (excluding accommodation)
  • Gyms and indoor sporting venues
  • Cinemas, entertainment venues, casinos, and night clubs
  • Restaurants and cafes are restricted to takeaway and/or home delivery
  • Religious gatherings, places of worship or funerals (in enclosed spaces and other than very small groups and where the 1 person per 4 square metre rule applies)
  • Hairdresser and Barber visits can be more than 30 minutes per patron, but the four (4) square metre rule per person must be strictly observed within the premises and personal contact during the visit should be minimised wherever possible

Home & Leisure

  • Immediate family only, around the dinner table.
  • No house parties.
  • Do not gather in groups outside; keep moving.
  • Only go outside for essential tasks.

The above builds on the following measures:

  • a limit of no more than 100 people for non-essential indoor gatherings
  • a limit of no more than 500 people for outdoor gatherings
  • cancellation of ANZAC day ceremonies
  • restrictions on visitors to aged care facilities
  • restrictions on Australians travelling overseas

McKinlay Shire Specific

Building on the directives from Federal and State Governmen and Health agencies, the following directives are in place.

Closed Council Facilities:

  • Julia Creek Swimming Pool
  • Julia Creek Library (book loan service still available via delivery options)
  • Julia Creek Daren Ginns Centre (Gym)
  • Julia Creek Visitor Information Centre
  • Julia Creek Free RV Park
  • All Council Facilities are unavailable for hire. They will remain open for use for essential services i.e. Health Services

Closed McKinlay Shire Playgrounds & Parks:

  • Peter Dawes Park
  • Lions Park
  • McIntyre Park
  • Kynuna Park
  • Centenary Park McKinlay

Altered Council Services:

  • CHSP - Commonwealth Home Support Program services will be modified to protect our most vulnerable citizens. Group activities will cease immediately. Domestic assistance will continue, though maybe reduced. Shopping will be provided twice a week however it will be a delivery service as opposed to a personal shopping experience. Meals on Wheels will continue as normal.
  • School Holiday Program - Unfortunately the April School Holiday Program has been cancelled. This is due to a number of factors including; cancellations from those arranged to deliver activities, limitations of staff and also the precautionary measures for COVID-19. However we will be working hard to put together resource packs for children to do activities to keep them busy over the school holiday period.
  • Childcare - Childcare is business as usual. Council will be guided by Government advice and will remain open until such time as we are given instruction to close. However this is also dependent on staff availability; if staff get sick we will need to consider numbers we can provide care to.

Traveller Advice:

  • State and Federal directives are expected to be followed.
  • The Julia Creek Caravan Park is open for a limit of one (1) night maximum stay for the transit community to manage safety purposes and fatigue.

School & Education

Advice directly from QLD Health Mount Isa states that Boarding School Children, upon arrive home DO NOT have to self-isolate. Parents and siblings are to go about daily activities. If any sickness is apparent please contact Julia Creek Medical Centre (07) 4746 7159 or NWHHS (07) 4744 4000.

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Health Resources

                  

Business & Employment Resources

Important Phone Numbers:

What is COVID-19?

Health Assistance:

Travel:

Printable Resources:

Stay Updated:

 

Important Phone Numbers:

  • Small Business Financial Counselling (North QLD): (07) 4622 5500
  • Small Businesses Support Hotline: 1300 654 687
  • Coronavirus Business Support Service: (Aus Gov): 13 28 46

Queensland State Government:

Australian Federal Government:

Employment Opportunities:

25 March - Expressions of Interest for NWHHS Casual Jobs:

Stay Updated:

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News & Messages (history)

Posted Thursday, 26 March 2020:
Today, the QLD Premier announced that student free days will be effective from Monday, 30 March, until the School Holiday begins. During the period 30 March - 3 April, schools will continue to provide a program of care and supervision for children of essential workers.

For students at home, teaching and learning resources are available through the department's learning@home website. -  FAQ

QLD Department of Education

Posted Thursday, 26 March 2020:
In regards to Hairdresser and Barber visits, the 30 minutes per patron will be lifted (effective immediately), but that the 4sqm rule per person must be strictly observed within the premises and that personal contact during the patron’s visit should be minimised wherever possible.

26 March - Media Release from the Prime Minister


Posted Wednesday, 25 March 2020:
COUNCIL INFORMATION

Council has made NEW UPDATES to our Facilities and Services, and has provided further advise based on the latest Federal and State Government announcements. (This information is current as of 25 March 2020 and subject to change)

CLOSURES

- The following Facilities are CLOSED as of 5:00pm Today, 25 March 2020:

  • Julia Creek Swimming Pool (closes at 6:00pm 25 March)
  • Julia Creek Library (book loan service still available via delivery options)
  • Julia Creek Visitor Information Centre
  • Julia Creek Free RV Park
  • All Council Facilities are not available for hire. They will remain open for use for essential services i.e. Health Services

- McKinlay Shire Playgrounds & Parks now CLOSED:

  • Peter Dawes Park
  • Lions Park
  • McIntyre Park
  • Kynuna Park
  • Centenary Park McKinlay

TRAVELLERS

- The Julia Creek Caravan Park is open for non-essential travel for a limit of one (1) night maximum stay for the transit community to manage safety purposes and fatigue.

- Advice directly from QLD Health Mount Isa states that Boarding School Children, upon arrive home DO NOT have to self-isolate. Parents and siblings are to go about daily activities. If any sickness is apparent please contact Julia Creek Medical Centre (07) 4746 7159 or NWHHS (07) 4744 4000.

- Queensland has announced border closures. Anyone entering from interstate travel is to self-isolate for fourteen (14) days. See specific State and Territory Government websites for more information.

COMMUNITY SERVICES

- Pubs, licensed clubs and hotels (excluding accommodation), places of worship, gyms, indoor sporting venues, cinemas, and casinos MUST CLOSE.

- Takeaway/Delivery only at restaurants and cafes.

- Supermarkets and Pharmacies to remain OPEN.

- Hairdresser visits have a strict limit of one (1) customer for a 30 minute appointment.

- Beauty services are unavailable as of 5:00pm 25 March 2020.

HOME & LEISURE

- Immediate family only, around the dinner table.

- No house parties.

- Do not gather in groups outside; keep moving.

- Only go outside for essential tasks.

STILL CURRENT AS OF 24 MARCH
CHSP - Commonwealth Home Support Program services will be modified to protect our most vulnerable citizens. Group activities will cease immediately. Domestic assistance will continue, though maybe reduced. Shopping will be provided twice a week however it will be a delivery service as opposed to a personal shopping experience. Meals on Wheels will continue as normal.

School Holiday Program - Unfortunately the April School Holiday Program has been cancelled. This is due to a number of factors including; cancellations from those arranged to deliver activities, limitations of staff and also the precautionary measures for COVID-19. However we will be working hard to put together resource packs for children to do activities to keep them busy over the school holiday period.

Childcare - Childcare is business as usual. Council will be guided by Government advice and will remain open until such time as we are given instruction to close. However this is also dependent on staff availability; if staff get sick we will need to consider numbers we can provide care to.


Posted Wednesday, 25 March 2020:
QLD STATE INFORMATION

Yesterday, the Palaszczuk Government announced a $4 billion economic relief package. (24 March - Media Statement) The purpose of this package is to take some of the pressure off families and to get cash flowing to business while they need it the most, while also making sure front-line health workers have what they need to keep Queenslanders safe. It includes payroll tax refunds and a payroll tax holiday, energy and rent support and assistance for workers who have been displaced by the crisis. Full details of this relief package.

24 March - Full Media Statement from the Palaszczuk Government.

Today, the Minister for Employment and Small Business as released a message of support to small businesses across the state, reminding Queenslanders that we also have up to $500 million to assist workers who may lose their job or income and will help them find jobs in the industries that are vital to getting through this crisis; health care, agriculture, food production, transport, cleaning and mining. There is now a Small Business Support Hotline: 1300 654 687, which provides one-on-one support and advice.

Business Queensland, Essential Information: https://www.business.qld.gov.au/ (last updated 11:35am AEST, Wednesday, 25 March 2020)


Posted Wednesday, 25 March 2020:
NWHHS INFORMATION

If you've found that your work hours have been reduced or put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and you have an interest in working for Queensland Health...North West Hospital and Health Services - Mount Isa Hospital is taking Expressions of Interest for:

COVID-19 Hotline (07) 4744 4000: Mount Isa - NWHHS now has a COVID-19 Hotline for general advise from the Public Health Unit and NWHHS Clinicians to:

  • Public
  • Staff
  • Anyone with questions about COVID-19

Posted Tuesday, 24 March 2020:
Council has made changes to our Facilities and Services, based on the latest Federal and State Government announcements and McKinlay Shire's Local Disaster Management Meeting, held 23 March 2020. (This information is current as of 24 March 2020 and subject to change)

CHSP - Commonwealth Home Support Program services will be modified to protect our most vulnerable citizens. Group activities will cease immediately. Domestic assistance will continue, though maybe reduced. Shopping will be provided twice a week however it will be a delivery service as opposed to a personal shopping experience. Meals on Wheels will continue as normal.

School Holiday Program - Unfortunately the April School Holiday Program has been cancelled. This is due to a number of factors including; cancellations from those arranged to deliver activities, limitations of staff and also the precautionary measures for COVID-19. However we will be working hard to put together resource packs for children to do activities to keep them busy over the school holiday period.

Childcare - Childcare is business as usual. Council will be guided by Government advice and will remain open until such time as we are given instruction to close. However this is also dependent on staff availability; if staff get sick we will need to consider numbers we can provide care to.

Library - The Julia Creek Library will remain open at this point in time, although there will be a limit on the number of customers inside the facility at any one time - the maximum will be ten (10) people. Friday Library will continue this week (27 March) with adherence to the limit being respected. There will be priority given to those parents who will be working during the time frame for their children to attend. Council is also offering home delivery of books to those that are self-isolating.

Caravan Park - The Julia Creek Caravan Park will remain open, however the only change will be to close the Artesian Baths in the interim.

Swimming Pool - The Julia Creek Swimming Pool will remain open at this point in time, with attendance restricted to McKinlay Shire residents only. Those who present flu-like symptoms will be refused entry. Individuals are encouraged not to attend the facility if they or their children are sick.

VIC -The Visitor Information Centre will remain operating business as usual, ensuring social distancing and hygiene practises. With many states closing their borders following Government direction, there is an expected decline in the number of visitors to our region.

Council Facilities - All Council Facilities are not available for hire to any group bookings. They will remain open for essential services (i.e. visiting Health Services) or individual bookings at the discretion of the CEO.

Council would like to thank everyone for their co-operation and understanding throughout these difficult, uncertain circumstances we are facing.


Posted Monday, 23 March 2020:
On 22 March, the Prime Minister, state and territory Premiers and Chief Ministers met as the National Cabinet, resulting in more widespread restrictions on social gatherings. Premiers and Chief Ministers agreed to implement, through state and territory laws, new Stage 1 restrictions on social gatherings, to be reviewed on a monthly basis. We should expect these measures to be in place for at least six months.

It was decided that following facilities will be restricted from opening from midday local time 23 March 2020:

  • Pubs, registered and licenced clubs (excluding bottle shops attached to these venues), hotels (excluding accommodation)
  • Gyms and indoor sporting venues
  • Cinemas, entertainment venues, casinos, and night clubs
  • Restaurants and cafes will be restricted to takeaway and/or home delivery
  • Religious gatherings, places of worship or funerals (in enclosed spaces and other than very small groups and where the 1 person per 4 square metre rule applies).

However, isolated remote community hubs are not included in these restrictions.

All leaders agreed that they cannot see children lose an entire year of their education as a result of school closures, so schools will remain open.

23 March - Full Media Statement from the Prime Minister.


Posted Friday, 20 March 2020:
The Prime Minister has announced further advice on social distancing, that will effect restaurants, shops, and pubs. Indoor gatherings of less than 100 people must allow four square metres of space for each person. For example, a meeting room of 100 square metres can have 25 people in that room, maximum.


Posted Thursday, 19 March 2020:
Changes continue to happen in Australia regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). On Wednesday, 18 March the Prime Minister announced new measures and restrictions to protect the community from the spread of COVID-19:

  • a limit of no more than 100 people for non-essential indoor gatherings
  • a limit of no more than 500 people for outdoor gatherings
  • cancellation of ANZAC day ceremonies
  • restrictions on visitors to aged care facilities
  • restrictions on Australians travelling overseas

The Queensland Premier announced later the same day that Queensland will be abiding by these same restrictions.

Council is taking direct advice from QLD Health and directives from the QLD Premier and the Ministerial Cabinet, led by the Prime Minister, with the emphasis that you practise social distancing if you are attending small gatherings and most importantly, that you think of others.

Council is being reasonable but active in our response to this. We encourage everyone to think of others, especially the vulnerable in our community. We strongly recommend against any planned domestic travel and whether it is necessary, especially over the school holidays; we understand that medical appointments and boarding school pick-ups are essential travel.

Council public facilities will remain open to individuals and community groups for now, as long as everyone is socially responsible; i.e. staying home if you are sick, practicing good hygiene, and following Government orders.

In regards to household goods and perishables; we thank our community for shopping sensibly and we ask that you keep doing so...we won't run out of food or toilet paper. Please leave hand-sanitisers for front-line businesses. Soap and water with proper hand-washig practises works best for home.


Posted Monday, 16 March 2020:
By now, you’ve heard about a new, or novel, strain of coronavirus, originally known as novel coronavirus and now called COVID-19. Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has affected people from many countries around the world. There are lots of people talking about it, however it can be tricky to figure out what you need to pay attention to, and sometimes it is hard to understand the information you’re being told.

Council is receiving information daily from the Australian and State Governments, led by the Department of Health, as key agency. As this is a new virus, we are learning things about it all the time and we will make sure we keep sharing up-to-date information.

Our first priority to ensure the safety of our community as a whole, work together and ensure consideration of our most vulnerable people in the community. The most important thing we want McKinlay Shire residents to know is that they should be aware of and informed about novel coronavirus (COVID-19), but not alarmed. Information from the Department of Health will help you to be prepared, too. See important links below.

What is McKinlay Shire Doing?

Community Events

As you will be aware the Prime Minister has made a recommendation in relation to any non-essential gatherings of 500 or more on Friday 13 March 2020.

Council expects local community groups, under new directives from the State Government, to also support those recommendations. We encourage community associations who are running events below the specified State limit (<500)  to consider relevant advice from key public health communications.

Council acknowledges that there will be locally impacted events and will continue to support the longer term impact however we acknowledge that the situation is changing and there is some degree of uncertainty. We ask that groups remain conscious of COVID-19 and keep abreast of communications to support the safety of everyone.

Council and Local Disaster Managment Planning

Council will conduct its March Ordinary meeting on the 18th March and will discuss the emerging issues at that meeting. In addition the Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG) responsible for the local level Disaster Management response for the Pandemic, will also meet on Wednesday, after the Council meeting, to discuss local level response and planning. A key strategy for Government is encouraging social distancing and isolation of people at risk or who are exposed to the virus.

Council, on your behalf, will be requesting information from Health about how they would like the community to interact with local health services – Medical Centre, Hospital, Fever Clinic, Hotlines so that we can assist in broadcasting that message. Please be assured, we will work to look after the whole community. Whilst we don’t want residents to be alarmed it is also critical that you not be complacent, because, whilst the risk is small the subsequent impact could be significant.

Local Government Elections

At this time, the Local Government elections are continuing. Declared institution voting (visits to hospitals and nursing homes) have been cancelled.  Early Voting and Election Day will continue as normal. Postal Voting will close at 7pm today (16th March 2020).

The 2020 LG Election is considered an essential democratic process and will be held as normal on the publicised dates. At this time of pandemic, it is important to uphold the consistency of Government and maintain our social institutions. We will continue to consult with the best health advice possible and if ECQ make changes this will be communicated as quickly as possible to minimise disruption.

Council Contractors

We ask that local businesses and contractors consider their own actions and local level responses. Please ensure that you are accessing good information, talking to your staff and ensuring adequate PPE and hygiene along with strategies for workforce management due to reduced workforce capacity.

Please note that Council is currently reviewing its own Business Continuity planning and Work Safety Plan. If you are using this Safety Plan please ensure you keep abreast of any changes. Our aim is to protect worker safety as a PCBU whilst keeping critical contracting services continuing safely.

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