THIS WEEK'S COMMUNITY NEWS
Council closes customer service centre
The Huon Valley Council has made the difficult decision to close its Customer Service Centre at 40 Main Street, Huonville from close-of-business Friday 27 March 2020.
“This is an unfortunate measure but one that we consider necessary to protect our staff and community against COVID-19,” said Huon Valley Council General Manager Emilio Reale.
“We encourage our community to stay safe and minimise your face-to-face interactions by considering if your contact with council is time-sensitive and if you could lodge your request via the internet or phone.”
Many transactions and service requests can be dealt with via the council website at www.huonvalley.tas.gov.au/online-services.
• Payments for rates, application fees, licences and registrations
• Customer service requests for roads, waste management, environmental health and animals
Other ways you can contact us include:
• Email via email@example.com (application lodgements such as planning and plumbing will need to be done this way)
• Phone us on 6264 0300
Please note that anyone needing a Justice of the Peace will need to phone and make
At this stage, the other council locations that are currently closed to the public include:
• Port Huon Sports and Aquatic Centre
• Cygnet Sports Centre
• Huonville Pool
• Huon Valley Visitor Centre in Huonville
• Geeveston Visitor Centre (including Geeveston Town Hall)
• Re-Use Shop at the Southbridge Waste Transfer Station (Huonville)
Each of council’s waste transfer stations in Huonville, Cygnet, Geeveston and Dover remain open and are accepting waste during normal operating hours.
“Our staff are continually assessing and implementing ways that we can deliver essential council services through non face-to-face ways of communicating,” said Mr Reale. “Thank you for bearing with us while we work through these challenges. Updates will be provided on our website and on the Huon Valley Council Facebook page.”
Huon Valley Council
Dover and Geeveston medical centres are open
The Dover and Geeveston medical centres continue to be open to all patients.
The health and safety of our staff is number one priority so when making an appointment you will be asked a number of questions, including if you have any cold and flu symptoms such as a temperature, sore throat or a runny nose.
The medical centres will continue with face-to-face and telehealth consultations following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Sunday. Telehealth consultations involve our doctors giving you a call on your phone at your appointment time where you will be able to discuss with them your health concern as you would during a normal appointment. If you are needing a prescription please let the receptionist know when you call.
Using telehealth, patients who may be more at risk from COVID-19 or those self-isolating can continue receiving their medical care in the safety of their home.
At times however you will be requested to attend the centre for your appointment. Patients attending the centre are asked to either stay in your vehicle and phone on your arrival at the centre to let us know you have arrived, or alternatively we ask that you present at the reception desk and maintain the recommended safe distances.
Please remain patient with our centre staff and follow instructions – this is an anxious time for everyone but it is important that we are being respectful to one another.
Huon Valley Council
Playgrounds and skate park closures
Following announcements by the Prime Minister on Sunday night, all public playgrounds and skate parks are now closed to reduce the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.
The council will be putting up signage to convey that playgrounds and skateparks are not to be entered or used.
The latest information about restrictions on public gatherings is available at www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au/business-and-employees/public-gatherings.
Huon Valley Council
Visit your library online
In the interests of public safety, all Libraries Tasmania public premises have been closed until further notice due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Department of Education believes that closing these 45 sites is the best way to support the health and wellbeing of members, visitors, staff, volunteers and the broader community. This is based on the demographic profile of our staff, clients and volunteers.
Libraries Tasmania will continue to provide many online services including eBooks and music, magazines, storybook reading for children, movies, research databases and language learning apps.
There will be no penalty for borrowers who were unable to return their books before the closure as libraries are no longer charging fines for overdue items.
Libraries Tasmania staff are also working on ways to offer modified services such as allowing members to borrow physical items through a ‘click and collect’ model and adjusting the current Home
A one-stop telephone number has been established for general enquiries while the libraries are closed, which is 6165 5600. The line will be manned from 9am to 5pm Mondays to Fridays.
Minister for education and training media release
How to use your library online
Access the “eLibrary” and more at www.libraries.tas.gov.au.
Ebooks and stories
Access thousands of free ebooks and audiobooks with your Libraries Tasmania membership.
Stream movies, documentaries and educational videos for free using Beamafilm and Australasian Video Online.
Emagazines and ecomics
As a library member, you have access to hundreds of free magazines, comics, and graphic novels.
Enews and journals
Access today’s news online and newspapers from Tasmania, Australia and overseas.
Use your Libraries Tasmania membership to learn a new language for free with Transparent Language Online and Mango Languages.
As a library member, you have access to thousands of albums and millions of songs for free using Freegal and Naxos.
Tasmanian archives and heritage
Explore a vast collection of historic images, newspapers, maps, photos, records, music, films, and more.
Start tracing your family tree with this comprehensive collection of records and archives.
Children and youth
Access the children and youth section at www.libraries.tas.gov.au.
Story box library
Engaging Australian children’s stories read by some of Australia’s finest storytellers in video format.
Literacy Planet encourages the learning of essential English literacy skills in a fun and
Ebooks for children
Access thousands of free ebooks and audiobooks for children with your Libraries Tasmania
Britannica Library is an award-winning resource for children and adults. It’s easy to use, and it’s easy to find trusted information.
A wide range of free magazines and ecomics. Access these through the “elibrary” on the homepage.
Cygnet Community Hub support activities
The request by the Tasmanian Government for the community to stay at home and self-isolate appears to be having some effect. This is seen most obviously in the village of Cygnet. As you are aware, cafés are now offering takeaway only. Traffic has reduced significantly and shopping for most residents has been confined to groceries, pharmacy, and petrol. However some residents are unable to access basic supplies without support. We’d like to bring you up-to-date with the options available if you need assistance.
• The Basics Support – Grocery pick up and delivery service. Please place your order directly with either Cygnet IGA Everyday (Farah’s) or the Port Cygnet Grocer. Cygnet Community Hub is providing a delivery service.
• Home Call – add your name to the Hub call list to receive a regular call and chat.
• Food Support Service – to ensure that everybody has access to nutritional food on a regular basis.
• Limited transport – essential for face-to-face appointments. Due to self-isolation regulations most medical appointments are now being conducted via telehealth – by computer or phone.
• Referral to other services when you need more – financial support, advocacy, NDIS, and Aged Care Services. Youth Employment and Disability Employment remain in contact with clients by phone to offer continuing support during this difficult time.
If you find you are bored out of your mind, we can deliver a really challenging jigsaw puzzle to keep you amused for hours.
It is important to acknowledge that we are working collectively with St Marks Church, the CWA, Cygnet IGA and many individuals who are giving of their time freely.
We are grateful for the generous donations of surplus produce which is being distributed to
The purpose of this notice is to reassure you that there are services available when you need them.
Contact the Cygnet Community Hub by phone on 0438 692 179, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or check our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/cygnetcommunityhub
Cygnet Community Hub
Vacation care – April 2020
Huon Valley Children’s Services Vacation Care program is taking bookings for the April school holidays, to view the program visit www.huonvalley.tas.gov.au/vacation-care-april-2020/.
The program is suitable for children aged five to 12 years.
Bookings are available from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday
(early morning care can be booked separately).
Contact 6264 0333 to find out more.
Please note: Due to COVID-19 all excursions have been cancelled and an alternative option will be held at the centre.
Huon Valley Council
Protecting health and livelihoods
Premier Gutwein has announced a range of measures to provide additional support to families and businesses during the current emergency.
These measures include the decision by TasWater to give a 100 per cent rebate for water and sewerage bills issued between April 1 and June 30 2020 to small business customers on electricity tariff 22, 94, 82 or 75.
As well as this business support, there will be a twelve-month price freeze for all TasWater customers from 1 July 2020.
The TasWater Board made this decision in response to the state government’s call to support the community during the current health emergency, and with the full endorsement of its
TasWater CEO Michael Brewster said, “We support the government’s call to help families and businesses. Their response to the health crisis so far has been determined and clear. We value that, especially when circumstances are still developing.”
Their position has also set the tone for how essential services might respond to this complex emergency that has both health and economic impacts.
“These measures will help ease the economic impact and, importantly, they will help provide Tasmanians with a more stable financial footing when normal conditions return.”
TasWater will continue to monitor and assess as the situation develops, “but for now the twelve-month freezing of prices from 1 July, and the rebate on bills are ways we can make a difference,” said Mr Brewster.
TasWater is one of several critical service providers determined to ensure continuity and quality of service during this emergency. The government has committed to supporting TasWater in delivering its vital services.
More information is on our website www.taswater.com.au, on Facebook or by calling 136992.
Sharing kind acts
Kingborough deputy mayor, Cr Jo Westwood, launched KIND ACTS this week.
KIND ACTS – which stands for KINgborough, Daily, Art, Community, Teaching and Support – will be a series of activities, ideas and resources shared online, via social media and as a range of themed packages which can be sent out through the post. Please note that our posted packs are limited and are only for Kingborough residents.
The resources will include:
• activities to engage the bodies and minds of older people;
• health and well-being packs for young people;
• support for home schooling;
• art, craft and creative activities.
If you are interested, and would like more information, call 6211 8290 or 6211 8170.
You can also email: email@example.com and follow us on Facebook and Instagram @KingboroughTas, or visit www.kingborough.tas.gov.au/kind-acts
Council closes all playgrounds
All of Kingborough’s playgrounds, skateparks and outdoor exercise pods have been closed.
You can still go for a walk for exercise, as long as you are in twos or are from the same family or household.
We appreciate your understanding and cooperation.
Please stop the spread, stay home and keep our loved ones and community healthy.
For more information on the council’s closures visit www.kingborough.tas.gov.au/coronavirus/
For state government updates visit: https://www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au/
Support our local restaurants
Restaurants Hobart is a growing website listing of food businesses that are still offering takeaway and delivery in Hobart and Southern Tasmania, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
You can filter them by service, cuisine type and suburb, then order from them directly, which helps them pay no commissions to third-party apps (sometimes as high as 35%).
Please share with others this great way to support our local businesses.
If your business is offering takeaway and delivery, it’s free to register on Restaurants Hobart now.
COVID-19 business support loans open
I am pleased to announce that our new Business Support Loan Scheme, provided through the government’s social and economic stimulus package, is now open for applications through the Business Tasmania website.
Given the significant impact the unfolding COVID-19 situation is having on Tasmanian businesses, interest free loans of between $20,000 and $250,000 have been made available to assist eligible local businesses through this difficult time*.
Loans are available for business continuity purposes, such as:
• The purchase of business plant and equipment;
• Improving distribution channels and online shopping accessibility;
• Implementing initiatives to improve the sustainability and viability of the business; and
• Ensuring essential business continuity is maintained.
Generally, loans will be considered for eligible businesses in Tasmania that operate in the hospitality, tourism and seafood export sectors, as well as related supply chain businesses and those that can demonstrate they have been significantly impacted by the outbreak.
Loans will be available to businesses with a turnover of $10 million or less as per the applicant’s most recent financial statements, however businesses with turnover in excess of $10 million per year that operate in multiple locations will be considered by exception.
We will continue to work closely with local businesses so they are ready to continue trading and return to full strength once we overcome the immediate COVID-19 threat.
This new loans scheme will be complemented by the Federal Government’s stimulus and support packages, which will be of particular value in helping businesses maintain links with their staff and prepare for the future beyond COVID-19.
For more information or assistance with your application call Business Tasmania on 1800 440 026 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Applications are available on the Business Tasmania website: https://www.business.tas.gov.au/covid-19_business_support_packages
* Loans will be interest free for the first three years then payable at State Growth’s commercial loan interest rate from year four onwards.
Minister for State Growth
Beware scams involving early-release super measures
The Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) is aware that unscrupulous operators have already begun targeting super fund members and offering to assist them in taking up the new early release super measures announced last Sunday.
The new measures – part of the government’s coronavirus economic support package – allow qualifying individuals suffering financial hardship to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21.
AIST CEO Eva Scheerlinck said everybody needed to be on their guard if they receive unsolicited calls about their superannuation.
“Unfortunately, as we’ve seen before with any early release super measure, there are unscrupulous operators who take advantage of people in financial hardship either through outright fraud in an attempt to steal their super or by offering unnecessary services for which a fee is charged,” Ms Scheerlinck said.
“The ATO is managing the new early-release process though its MyGov website. There is no need to involve a third party and there are no fees involved.”
“Nor is there a need to panic and rush through an application. Anyone who is considering applying for early release superannuation under the new financial hardship provisions should be aware the scheme does not commence until mid-April.”
Ms Scheerlinck suggested that, in the interim, those who were planning to apply through MyGov for early release should firstly ensure their personal details were up to date by visiting their super fund’s website.
AIST is urging people suffering financial hardship to explore all the various government income-support measures available before accessing their superannuation through an early release measure, which should be a last resort.
Any suspicious behaviour relating to superannuation can be reported to Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) through its online complaint form.
The Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees
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