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COVID-19 Support
Support information and resources during the current Pandemic
COVID-19 Support

Support during COVID-19

Last updated 07/08/2020

For up to date and detailed information about Stage 3 restrictions in Regional Victoria visit the Department of Health and Human Services website. Please also consider downloading the Australian Government Coronavirus App from the Apple App Store, or Google Play for Android devices.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can and can't I do?

From 11:59pm on Wednesday 5 August, Stage 3 Stay at Home restrictions apply in Victoria, except if you live in metropolitan Melbourne where Stage 4 restrictions apply.

If you live in regional Victoria, there are only four reasons that you can leave home:

  • to shop for food and essential goods or services
  • to provide care, for compassionate reasons or to seek medical treatment
  • to exercise or for outdoor recreation with your household, or one other person
  • for work or study, if you can’t do it from home

You may no longer have visitors to your home or visit other people in their homes.

See the Premier's statement on returning to Stage 3 restrictions for more information.

Face coverings are now mandatory for all of Victoria who outside of your home.

  • Exemptions include if you have a medical condition or other condition that impairs your ability to wear a face covering, doing strenuous exercise or if you are unable to do your job while wearing a face covering. Children who are under the age of 12 years old do not need to wear a face covering. Children who are two years or younger must not wear face coverings as they are a choking and suffocation risk.
  • People who do not wear face coverings and do not have a lawful excuse can be fined $200.
  • Masks will be made available to schools and vulnerable people living in regional Victoria.

The New South Wales border is closed. Victorian residents require a permit to enter New South Wales.

All changes to restrictions and the proposed dates are subject to the advice of Victoria’s Chief Health Officer and the continued and effective management of the spread of COVID-19.

Stay safe by washing your hands regularly, coughing and sneezing into your elbow, keeping at least 1.5 metres from others and staying home if you feel unwell.

If you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) get tested.

A detailed list of restrictions is available on Department of Health and Human Services website.

What is in Council's $1 million COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Package

Reimbursement of six months of 2019/20 street trading permit fees.

Council will begin the process of reimbursements using payment details on file, and businesses will be notified once their refund is complete. We anticipate that this may take some time and thank everyone for their patience. For more information please contact the Business Support Team.

Waiving business signage and liquor licensing permit fees

Any fees relating to business signage permits or liquor licensing permits will be waived for the period 15 April through to 30 June, 2020. This will be automatically processed by Council. For more information please contact the Business Support Team.

Rent relief for caravan park and business operators in Council owned facilities

Council will begin contacting tenants to discuss rent relief and establish a modified rental agreement for the remainder of the 2019/20 financial year. For more information please contact the Property Team.

$700,000 Business and Community Resilience Grants Program

Round one of this Program is now closed. Successful applicants will be notified in coming weeks.

Can I still go boating and fishing? What about Surfing?

Boating and Fishing

You can go fishing and hunting. You must ensure 1.5 metres can be maintained between yourself and others. Recreational boating is allowed, however physical distancing and mass gathering rules apply at all times – including at the boat ramp and on your boat.

Surfing

Yes, you can go surfing.

Who is enforcing these rules?

Victoria Police are responsible for enforcing the guidelines. Non compliance can incur fines for individuals and businesses. Offences can be reported via the Victoria Police Assistance Line 131 444.

Is there extra cleaning of public amenities?

Our cleaning teams are focused on the cleaning of high touch street furniture across the Shire and public amenities that remain open.

Community Support for Bass Coast during COVID-19

A Bass Coast COVID-19 Response and Recovery Group has been established to help guide, support and advocate for Bass Coast through the COVID-19 pandemic. To contact this Group, call (03) 5671 2211 or email community.support@basscoast.vic.gov.au

Mental Health services

It's important to look after our mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, and normal to feel stressed and anxious during uncertain times. Sharing how you feel with someone can help. Here are some different ways you can seek help:

  • Contact your local GP and let them know you're mental health is not 100%. They will be able to provide you with an appropriate referral.
  • Visit the Department of Health website for information on what services are available.
  • Beyond Blue offer practical advice and resources. The Beyond Blue Support Service offers short term counselling and referrals by phone and webchat on 1300 224 636. There's also a COVID-19 Beyond Blue web page.
  • Lifeline offer tips, resources and advice as well as crisis and suicide support. You can phone them on 13 11 14 (24 hours / 7 days), Text 0477 13 11 14 (6pm - midnight AEDT, 7 nights), or online chat through their website (7pm - midnight, 7 nights).
Looking for work or welfare?

There is a Support Package for Victorian Workers impacted by COVID-19 and there are welfare packages in place for those who are eligible. For more information on welfare eligibility and to access any of these services, visit Services Australia. Job seekers are encouraged to register with the Working for Victoria website.

Need essential supplies but can't leave the house?

Relief packages are available to those who can not leave their home due to COVID-19 and are unable to arrange family or other support. To access a relief package, call the Victorian Hotline on 1800 675 398. For more information, read the media release here.

Supermarkets such as Woolworthsand Coles have established Priority Assistance Services, to arrange home delivery for those most vulnerable including seniors, people with a disability, or those who can not leave their home. Some local independent supermarkets are also offering this service. Call your local independent supermarkets, grocers or convenience stores to find out what services they are offering.

Paying your rates

We adopted a COVID-19 Financial Hardship Policy at our May Council Meeting, which will help impacted ratepayers cope with additional financial burdens caused by the pandemic.

Impacted residential ratepayers and businesses, including businesses that lease their premises, will be able to apply for an interest-free deferral of the fourth instalment of their 2019/20 rates and the first instalment of their 2020/21 rates, until 30 June 2021.

Visit our Rates page or contact our rates team on (03) 5671 2211 or 1800 BCOAST (226 278) for more information.

Paying your rent

We encourage people to speak directly with their landlords or real estate agents about the possibility of reduced rent. If you receive more than the base rate of Family Tax Benefit, or already receive welfare payments from the Australian Government, you may be eligible for Rent Assistance.

On 30 March, the National Cabinet agreed to a moratorium on evictions for the next six months for residential and commercial tenants who are experiencing financial distress due to the impact of coronavirus. This will apply across all states and territories.

Paying your mortgage

Many banks are developing and offering Coronvirus Assistance packages, including a six month freeze on mortgage repayments. We encourage you to get in touch with your bank to discuss what support is available to you.

Translated and Easy English Resources

Enliven have developed a series of Easy English Resources which can be downloaded. They include visual infographics and information on COVID-19 translated into Chin Hakha, Chin Falam, Karen and Zomi.

DHHS has COVID-19 translated information in more than 40 languages for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, health professionals and industry. Information includes factsheets and promotional materials.

Support for charities and community organistions

The Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission has a range of resources available on their website, include webinars, and a list of support packages available to charities and not-for-profits.

Can I get my medicine delivered?

Yes, if you meet the following criteria you can organise to have your medicine delivered. Call your local pharmacy to discuss delivery.

  • people isolating themselves at home on the advice of a medical practitioner, in accordance with home isolation guidance issued by the Australian Health Protection Principle Committee for confirmed COVID-19 cases,
  • people who meet the current national triage protocol criteria for suspected COVID-19 infection after consultation with either the national COVID-19 hotline, state COVID-19 hotlines, a registered medical or nursing practitioner, or COVID-19 trained health clinic triage staff
  • people aged over 70
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged over 50
  • people with chronic health conditions or who are immunocompromised
  • parents with new babies and people who are pregnant

For more information, visit the Australian Department of Health website.

Other support

There is a range of information on support services available from the DHHS Website. Their factsheet may also have valuable information about where you can find additional support

Locally, you may also find support through various community groups and organisations, such as Bass Coast Churches online, in our Community Directory.

Bass Coast Business Support during COVID-19

To find out what funding programs and packages are available for your business, call the Business Victoria coronavirus hotline on 13 22 15, or visit Coronavirus Business Support.

The AusIndustry Contact Centre have staff available to help you determine which packages you are eligible for, and how to apply. You can contact them on 132 846 (7.00am-9.00pm, 7 days) .

The Australian Federal Government also have a great web page explaining what Business Support is available.

The Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Victorian Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) are currently providing the opportunity to join free of charge. These industry organisations provide great leadership and advocacy for business.
Join VTIC or Join the Victorian Chamber.

Relief Package: Reimbursement and waivers for permits

Reimbursement of six months of 2019/20 street trading permit fees.

Council will begin the process of reimbursements using payment details on file, and businesses will be notified once their refund is complete. We anticipate that this may take some time and thank everyone for their patience. For more information please contact the Business Support Team.

Waiving business signage and liquor licensing permit fees

Any fees relating to business signage permits or liquor licensing permits will be waived for the period 15 April through to 30 June, 2020. This will be automatically processed by Council. For more information please contact the Business Support Team.

Rent relief for caravan park and business operators in Council owned facilities

Council will begin contacting tenants to discuss rent relief and establish a modified rental agreement for the remainder of the 2019/20 financial year. For more information please contact the Property Team.

Financial Business support available now

Victorian Business Support Fund - Expansion

$5,000 one-off grants will be made available to eligible businesses under the Business Support Fund - Expansion program.

Businesses which have already received a Business Support Fund - Expansion grant, or have applied for one, will not need to re-apply. Successful applicants will automatically receive this additional allocation.

Applications for the program will be extended until 14 September 2020.

This program is in addition to the first round of the Business Support Fund, which closed on 1 June 2020.

Full details on eligibility and how to apply are set out on the Business Support Fund webpage business.vic.gov.au/businesssupportfund

Federal JobKeeper Wage Subsidy - Extension

If you currently receive JobKeeper Payment it remains unchanged and available until 27 September 2020. The scheme will support employees who were on the books dating back to 1 March 2020, with the first payments effective from 1 May 2020.

From 28 September 2020, the JobKeeper Payment will be extended for businesses and not-for-profits that have been most significantly impacted, the payment rates will be stepped-down and two tiers of payment will be introduced.

The ATO is administering the JobKeeper Payment and detailed information and guidance on JobKeeper is available on the ATO website.

Assisting staff and employees

There is a Support Package for Victorian Workers impacted by COVID-19 and there are welfare packages in place for those who are eligible. For more information on welfare eligibility visit the Australian Department of Social Services Website – to access any of these services, visit Services Australia.

Support for local Businesses

To find out what local support is available through Council, call the Business Support Team on 035671 2211, or email business.support@basscoast.vic.gov.au

We are keen to hear from local business. Please email or call us and let us know how this period has affected your business and how we might be able to assist you. business.support@basscoast.vic.gov.au or 03 5671 2211.

State and Federal Government Support for Small Businesses

The Australian Commonwealth Government

JobKeeper Payments - Boosting cash flow for employers: providing up to $100,000 to eligible small and medium-sized businesses, and not for-profits (NFPs) that employ people, with a minimum payment of $20,000. This will benefit around 690,000 businesses employing around 7.8 million people, and around 30,000 NFPs (including charities).

Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses: The Government is temporarily increasing the threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand on a company. The ATO will tailor solutions for owners or directors of business that are currently struggling due to the Coronavirus

Financial assistance – flow of credit - SME Guarantee Scheme: SMEs with a turnover of up to $50 million will be eligible to receive a guarantee of 50% to SME lenders to support new short-term unsecured loans to SMEs. The Scheme will guarantee up to $40 billion of new lending.

  • Maximum total size of loans of $250,000 per borrower.
  • The loans will be up to 3 years, with an initial 6-month repayment holiday.
  • The loans will be in the form of unsecured finance, meaning that borrowers will have to provide an asset as security for the loan.

Increasing the instant asset write-off: The instant asset write-off threshold has been increased from $30,000 to $150,000 and expanding access to include businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million) until 30 June 2020. This measure will support over 3.5 million businesses (over 99 per cent of businesses) employing more than 9.7 million employees.

Backing Business Investment (BBI): The Government is introducing a time limited 15 month investment incentive (through to 30 June 2021) to support business investment and economic growth over the short term, by accelerating depreciation deductions. Businesses with a turnover of less than $500 million will be able to deduct 50 per cent of the cost of an eligible asset on installation, with existing depreciation rules applying to the balance of the asset’s cost.

Supporting apprentices and trainees

Supporting apprentices and trainees: Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wage from 1 July 2020 to 31 March 2021. Where a small business is not able to retain an apprentice, the subsidy will be available to a new employer that employs that apprentice. Employers will be reimbursed up to a maximum of $21,000 per eligible apprentice or trainee ($7,000 per quarter). This measure will support small and medium sized businesses.

Assistance for affected regions, communities and industries: $1 billion to support regions most significantly affected by the Coronavirus outbreak. These funds will be available to assist during the outbreak and the recovery. In addition, the Government is assisting our airline industry by providing relief from a number of taxes and Government charges estimated to total up to $715 million.

For more detail please go to: https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus

Coronavirus Business Liaison Unit: A Coronavirus Business Liaison Unit has been established within The Treasury to engage with business on a regular basis and provide updates to government on crucial issues. https://treasury.gov.au/policy-topics/business-and-industry/coronavirus-business-liaison-unit

The Victorian State Government

$500 million Business Support Fund: The fund will support small to medium businesses within the hardest hit sectors, including hospitality, tourism, accommodation, arts and entertainment, and retail. Businesses requiring further information should register at https://www.business.vic.gov.au/support-for-your-business/grants-and-assistance/economic-survival-and-jobs-package

$500 million Working for Victoria Fund: The fund will help workers who have lost their jobs find new opportunities – providing vital contributions to our state’s response to the pandemic and affording those Victorians security when its needed most. To receive more information please register at: https://www.vic.gov.au/workingforvictoria

Payroll Tax: Full payroll tax refunds for the 2019-20 financial year to small and medium-sized businesses with payroll of less than $3 million; and deferral of any payroll tax for the first three months of the 2020/21 financial year until 1 January 2021. Details on this package will become available over the next few days at https://www.sro.vic.gov.au/smallbusiness

Land Tax: Commercial tenants in government buildings can apply for rent relief – and 2020 land tax payments will be deferred for eligible small businesses. Details on this package will become available over the next few days at https://www.sro.vic.gov.au/smallbusiness

Payments to business: The Government will pay all outstanding supplier invoices within five business days. Further information to be provided.

Liquor Licensing: Waiver of liquor licensing fees for 2020 for affected venues and small businesses. Please refer to contact information at https://www.vcglr.vic.gov.au/news/coronavirus-covid-19-information-licensees

Other important COVID 19 information in relation to healthy workplaces is available at: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/business-sector-coronavirus-disease-covid-19

Jobs Victoria – Workers in Transition: This support provides information, tools and resources to help both business and workers through retrenchment processes and into new opportunities. For more information see link: https://www.business.vic.gov.au/hiring-and-managing-staff/ending-employment/jobs-victoria-workers-in-transition

Adapting to COVID-19 as a Business

For support in adapting to the COVID-19 situation, call the Business Support Team on 03 5671 2211.

Business Resource library

We are currently preparing a online library, where you can watch short videos such as, “How to support your staff to work from home” “How to sell your products online” “How to lead and stay connected when working remotely”.

Here are some resources currently available:

- Australian Government Resources on Continuing your Business, including handling cancellations, setting yourself up for remote working, finding online business events and webinars to help with COVID-19 situation, finding grants and assistance, tax support and employer obligations, and more.

- Victorian Chamber of Commerce, COVID-19 Managing through a Crisis Webinar

- Digital Ready Tasmania have a free E-Commerce for COVID-19 talk on their Facebook Page.

Shop Local Campaign

There are many great online platforms sharing people’s businesses and encouraging customers to shop local and support local businesses. Remember to 'tag' @BusinessinBassCoast on Facebook, and tell us what you are doing to adapt.

REMPLAN Business Impact Survey

The Australian Business Economic Impact Survey (ABEIS) is aimed at gathering data from local businesses in response to the rapid changes experienced as a result of COVID-19. Local input from businesses is needed to support recovery and demonstrate the impact for our region.

While completing a survey may be a low priority for businesses at this time, we encourage all Bass Coast businesses who have been impacted by the current crisis to participate. Insights from the survey and subsequent REMPLAN analysis will be provided to Federal, State and Local Governments to inform a targeted response that addresses the impact to local businesses and local employment.

The survey is brief and will take less than 10 minutes to complete. You can access the survey on the REMPLAN website.

Service Changes

Customer/Visitor Services

All face-to-face Customer Services and Visitor Services have ceased. Customer Service and Visitor Services are still be available via phone, email and online channels.

The Grantville Transaction Centre will open 8.30am to 4:30pm for the Nurse Practitioner to operate (not for Council Customer Service). CentreLink self-service will still be available from this office.

If you need to make a payment and can only pay in cash, please contact Customer Service on 0356 712211 to make arrangements.

Council Meetings

Our Ordinary Council Meetings are currently being held virtually and live-streamed via YouTube. Videos of past meetings can be accessed from www.basscoast.vic.gov.au/2020m... or YouTube.

Libraries

West Gippsland Libraries have closed all library branches and mobile libraries on Wednesday, 5 August until further notice.

Public toilets

With the reintroduction of the State Government's Stage 3 restrictions we're increasing the cleaning schedule on our high-use toilet blocks and we'll be closing a number of our lesser used ones from Thursday, 6 August. Our cleaning crews are also continuing to clean high touch surfaces and street furniture in townships.

The following toilet blocks remain open:

Wonthaggi:
• Guide Park, Wonthaggi
• Apex Park
• Wonthaggi Rec. Reserve (in between rec. 1 & 2)
• Watt St

Cowes:
• Thompson Ave, Cowes
• Cowes Transit Hub
• Cowes Rec Reserve (football ground)
• Anderson Street, Cowes (Cowes Boat Ramp)

Newhaven:
• Newhaven Jetty - 10 Beach Cres
• Richard Grayden Reserve - 2 Forrest Ave

Grantville:
• Pier Rd
• Grantville Transaction Centre

Coronet Bay:
• Coronet Bay Foreshore

Cape Woolamai:
• Cape Woolamai Surf Club
• Vista Place
• Cottosloe beach

Rhyll:
• Rhyll Hall
• Rhyll Boat Ramp

Inverloch:
• Riely St
• Rotary Centenary Park
• Inverloch SLSC Goroke St/Surf Pde
• Inverloch Boat Ramp
• Cuttriss St/The Esplanade


Cape Paterson:
• Surf beach Carpark, Cape Paterson (1st Surf Carpark)

Mahers Landing:
• Mahers Landing Boat Ramp

Kilcunda:
• Kilcunda Foreshore

Anderson:
• Anderson Roundabout

San Remo:
• Marine Parade
• Back Beach

Smiths Beach:
• Smiths Beach Carpark

The following toilets blocks are closed:

Inverloch:
• Norman Rd, Inverloch

Cape Paterson:
• Allan Birt Reserve

Wonthaggi:
• South Dudley Park
• McMahons Reserve

Kilcunda:
• Lionel Rose Carpark
• Kilcunda Cemetery

Bass:
• Bass Valley Centre

Corinella:
• Harold Hughes Reserve

Dalyston:
• Dalyston Rec Reserve

Coronet Bay:
• Coronet Bay Hall

Newhaven:
• Newhaven Yacht Club

Smiths Beach:
• Y.C.W Beach

Ventnor:
• Ventnor Beach Road

Cowes:
• Heritage Centre
• Excelloo Thompson Ave
• Findlay St
• Red Rocks Road

Cape Paterson:
• Browns Bay

Waste Services

All kerbside waste collections are operating as normal, please continue to put your bins out on your usual collection days.

With the reintroduction of the State Government's Stage 3 restrictions our Waste Facilities will remain open but we're encouraging the community to avoid attending unless it is essential for business or commercial waste disposal or for those who don't receive a kerbside collection.

Proof of residence must now be provided when attending any of our waste facilities – this can be in the form of a driver’s licence, rates notice, utility bill or similar.

Hard waste collections are still available and bookings can be made by calling Wonthaggi Recyclers on (03) 5672 1933. The standard service fee is $65 or $36 for Pension and Health Care Card Holders.

Green kitchen caddy liners will not be available for collection from Council facilities for the next six weeks while Bass Coast remains under Stage 3 restrictions to help reduce non-essential travel, we hope to return to our normal services as soon as possible.

Food waste can be put straight into your Organics Bin, there is no requirement for it to be wrapped – try using a bowl, tub or bucket and tip directly into your bin. Alternatively, try lining your kitchen caddy with newspaper.

If you feel that your need for green caddy liners is urgent, please contact Wonthaggi Recyclers on 5672 1933 and they will arrange to get some to you.

Wonthaggi Union Community Arts Centre

The Centre is closed and all events have been cancelled or postponed.

We are currently working with producers to see if shows can be rescheduled and we will advise ticket holders as soon as we can if new dates can be found. We are also working through a ticket exchange process for rescheduled shows and a refund process for cancelled shows. If you are unable to attend a rescheduled show, a refund will be offered.