Skip to main content
COVID-19 Support
Support information and resources during the current Pandemic
COVID-19 Support

Support during COVID-19

Last updated 17/09/2020

The Victorian Government has released it's Coronavirus (COVID-19) roadmap to reopening. As per the Statement from the Premier, Regional Victoria will be at the Third Step and further restrictions will be eased from 11:59pm on 16 September.

Please note: Regional Victoria and Melbourne Metro each have their own roadmaps, relating to how many active cases are currently in the community.

Visit Third Step Restrictions for Regional Victoria for further details. 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?

The Victorian Government has released it's Coronavirus (COVID-19) roadmap to reopening. Regional Victoria will be at the Third Step and further restrictions will be eased from 11:59pm on 16 September.

Under the Third Step:

  • There are no restrictions on leaving home.
  • Visitors are allowed in the home from 1 other household only (up to 5 people).
  • Public gatherings of up to 10 people outdoors are permitted.
  • Hospitality (restaurants and cafes) are open with restricted indoor seating and additional outdoor seating where possible.
  • All retail, including hairdressing and beauty services, where a face covering can be worn for the duration of the service, are open.

Visit Third Step Restrictions for Regional Victoria for further details.

Face coverings are still mandatory for all Victorians outside the 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?

For the safety of our community our cleaning teams are focused on cleaning high touch street furniture and public amenities across the Shire.

Community Support 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 Wellness

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).
Staying Connected

As we try to navigate the impacts of COVID-19 for ourselves, our family and friends, and our broader community, it's completely understandable that we may feel anxious, vulnerable and disconnected.

These are unprecedented times and it’s more important than ever that we reach out for assistance if we need it.

To support the community, Council is partnering with the Department of Health and Human Services in a Program called the Community Activation and Social Isolation Initiative (CASI) - designed to connect community members with local community organisations who can provide some of the practical, emotional and social supports that may be needed during this time.

If you, or someone you know, could benefit from extra support during this time such as a regular phone chat, assistance with navigating technology to stay connected to family and friends, or joining a social activity group, then please phone the Victorian COVID 19 Hotline on 1800 675 398 and press 3 to speak to an Australian Red Cross volunteer. The volunteers are trained in assessing your needs and can refer you to a range of support services including the CASI Program.

You can find further details on the Program in the fact sheet below

Looking for Work or Financial Support

These are unprecedented times and you may find yourself in challenging situations that you haven’t had to navigate before. The Commonwealth and Victorian governments have a range of financial supports to assist families/individuals and businesses/industry during this time.

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.

Please note: If you would like to pay for your rates in cash or by cheque, you may do so at your local post office.

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 Coronavirus 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 organisations

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.

Business Support during COVID-19

The Victorian Government has released it's Coronavirus (COVID-19) roadmap to reopening. From 11:59pm 16 September, Regional Victoria will begin at the Third Step and some restrictions will be eased across Victoria.

Regional Victoria and Melbourne Metro each have their own roadmaps, relating to how many active cases are currently in the community.

Visit Third Step Restrictions for Regional Victoria for further details. For information specific to industry, visit Industry restriction levels: Regional Victoria.

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.

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

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.

Sign up to our Business in Bass Coast newsletter to keep up to date with local business news, information on the latest grants and assistance opportunities.

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

$822 million Business Support Fund - Round Three: The Victorian Government has announced a third round of the Business Support Fund to provide direct financial support to businesses impacted by restrictions in Victoria. The amount of grants available from this program range from $10,000 to $20,000 depending on the business’ annual payroll. To be eligible for a grant from this program, check out https://www.business.vic.gov.au/support-for-your-business/grants-and-assistance/business-survival-and-adaptation-package/business-support-fund-3

$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. For more details, please visit https://www.sro.vic.gov.au/payroll-tax/covid-19-payroll-tax-relief-claim-reimbursement

Land Tax: Commercial tenants in government buildings can apply for rent relief – and 2020 land tax payments will be deferred for eligible small businesses. For more details, please visit https://www.sro.vic.gov.au/land-tax/claim-coronavirus-land-tax-relief

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

Mental Health & Wellbeing Services

The Victorian Small Business Commission has developed a Mental Health Plan guide in consultation with Beyond Blue, drawing insights shared by Victoria small business owners with lived experiences of overcoming mental health challenges.

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

Face-to-face Customer Services and Visitor Services are unavailable at this time but can be contacted 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.

Please note: Rates can be paid at in cash or by cheque at your local post office.

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.

Playgrounds, Skate Parks and Outdoor Gyms

Playgrounds, outdoor gyms and skate parks can be used from 11.59pm on 16 September as part of Step 3.

Public toilets

All public toilets have re-opened and our cleaning crews are continuing to clean high touch surfaces.

Waste Services

Waste Facilities are open but proof of residence must be provided – this can be in the form of a driver’s licence, rates notice, utility bill or similar.

Cash is not accepted at this time so please remember to bring a debit or credit card. Masks must also be worn at all times unless you have a medical exemption.

Please note: Green kitchen caddy liners are currently available for collection from Waste Facilities.

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

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.

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.