COVID-19: How Council is responding to the Coronavirus

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COVID-19 and Council’s Ordinary Meetings

Council is working hard to adjust the way in which it provides its services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Council is mindful of the need to play its role in responding to State and Federal government requirements aimed at preventing the spread of the virus.

It is recognised that Council meetings are important for the continued operation and oversight of the Council. Recently the NSW Government made amendments to the Local Government Act to allow Councillors to attend a meeting remotely by audio visual link and to allow the public to have access to the meeting by webcast. These changes are in effect for a minimum of six (6) months and a maximum of twelve (12) months.

This means for the next six to twelve months, Council’s Ordinary Meetings will proceed at 7pm as scheduled however they will be conducted to allow Councillors to participate in the meeting by audio visual link. The current Public Health Order that prevails in NSW prevents any person, without reasonable excuse, to leave the persons residence meaning that the public are unable to attend meetings. A copy of the current Public Health Order and its requirements can be viewed here.

Under current Code of meeting practice, members of the public are able to address Council about items on the Meeting agenda or ask questions in Community Forum. As far as possible in these altered meeting arrangements, members of the public should register to speak and send their typed, written address via email to Council’s Governance staff at: publicofficer@thehills.nsw.gov.au

Arrangements will be made for the submission to be read at the appropriate time during the meeting. Councillors will then deal with the item in accordance with the code of meeting practice.

Written addresses are to be received by Council no later than 5pm, on the day before the Meeting. Please note that the time limit of five minutes per address still applies so please ensure your written submission meets this criterion as time limits will be enforced.  Under the Code of Meeting Practice, one speaker for and one speaker against the recommendation in the business paper is permitted to speak.

The Meeting will be recorded and available on Council’s website by the following Friday, as usual.

If you have any questions, please contact Manager Governance and Public Officer Michael Spence on 02 9843 0159, or email  publicofficer@thehills.nsw.gov.au

 


 

Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order 2020

The Minister of Health and Medical Research, Brad Hazzard, MP. has made the Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order 2020 under section 7 of the Public Health Act 2010 dated 30 March 2020.

In particular, this Order directs that a person must not, without reasonable excuse, leave the person's place of residence. Examples of a reasonable excuse include leaving for reasons involving:

(a) obtaining food or other goods and services, or

(b) travelling for the purposes of work or education if the person cannot do it at home, or

(c) exercise, or

(d) medical or caring reasons.

In addition, this Order directs that a person must not participate in a gathering in a public place of more than 2 persons. Exceptions include:

(a) gatherings of members of the same household, and

(b) gatherings essential for work or education.

 

For more information please visit https://preview.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/public-health-orders

 

Crime Stoppers

Crime Stoppers is the nominated reporting agency for the public to provide information to police about individuals, businesses and corporations not complying with Public Health Orders. Contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 to report a breach or make a written report online https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au/


 

 

How the Hills Shire Council is responding to COVID-19:

The Hills Shire Council is currently monitoring the COVID-19 situation and will continue to follow the advice of State and Federal Health Departments.

Council's focus during the COVID-19 situation is to maintain good service levels while protecting our community. We will aim to do this by:

  • Maintaining essential services, such as Meals on Wheels, to residents;
  • Providing up-to-date information about any changes to services and/or operations at Council-owned facilities;
  • Supporting government, government departments, emergency services and agencies to help manage the impact of the virus;
  • Acting on advice from NSW Department of Health and the Office of Local Government;
  • Following State and Federal Government advice regarding events and public gatherings

The Hills Shire closures include: skate parks, public pools, playgrounds and outdoor gym equipment. All other open spaces remain OPEN to allow the community to exercise while adhering to the social distancing rules, including cycleways, reserves and off-leash dog parks.

Council Services and Operations Update

Council Venues

All Council venues including halls and community centres are closed until further notice other than after school care services. Contact Council’s Venues team on 1300 426 654 for booking enquiries.

 

The Hills Shire Library Service

Council’s four Libraries (Castle Hill, Vinegar Hill [at Rouse Hill], Baulkham Hills and Dural) are now closed. Library members can access digital collections via The Hills Shire Council Library App, which can be downloaded for free from either the App Store or Google Play.

 

Funerals

All funerals at Castle Hill and Sackville cemeteries must follow the 4sq metre social distancing rule as per the Public Health Act Mass Gathering Public Order to a maximum of 10 people.

 

Indoor Sports Centres

All indoor sports centres either owned or operated by Council are now closed, including Bernie Mullane Sports Complex at Kellyville and Waves Fitness and Aquatic Centre.

 

Group outdoor exercise and personal training

These activities can be conducted outdoors with no more than two people (meaning the client and the trainer) and with social distancing rules observed. Personal training sessions are allowed in Council’s parks and reserves only with permission. For enquiries call 1300 426 654. You can apply for a permit here.

All playground equipment, skate parks and outside gyms in public places are closed.

 

Sport

Social sporting activities are not permitted unless they take place outside with two people or less.

 


 

Current advice on changes to other Council services and operations

Existing and additional changes to services and operations will be updated as the situation changes.

  • All bushcare and nursery volunteering in The Hills is postponed until further notice. Advice about the resumption of regular Bushcare and Community Nursery activities will be updated as the situation changes.
  • Council is currently not accepting applications for work experience opportunities. Advice about the resumption of work experience opportunities will be updated as the situation changes.
  • Household bins and clean-up material will now be collected from 5am on local roads and 4am on main roads in order to stagger drivers for social distancing purposes. For more information, read the media release. 

 

Council's Customer Service Centre

While face-to-face customer service has been suspended, a Quick Drop Station is available for the submission of paper forms and applications. Please observe social distancing by remaining 1.5 metres from others. Use the envelopes provided and we will call you once we have received your paperwork.

The Contact Centre remains open from 8:00am - 4:30pm Monday - Friday for calls on 9843 0555. The Hills Shire Council is also encouraging residents to do business online via Council’s website. You can search Council's website for the following services:

You can submit Development Applications direct to the NSW Planning Portal

Waste Services will continue to operate as normal - book a kerbside clean up on 1800 623 895.

You can call Council 24/7 for emergencies relating to roads, trees, drainage, dog attacks, alleged breaches of development consent, or unauthorised work on trees on 9843 0555.

Operating as Normal

The following services, facilities and activities are operating as normal: 

  • Meals on Wheels
  • Council's affiliated childcare centres
  • Council's Contact Centre - call 9843 0555 for assistance with Council services or do business online via Council's website
  • Access to parks and reserves - in accordance with State and Federal Government guidelines, if you are visiting public spaces, please do not congregate in these areas and observe a 1.5 metre distance between yourself and others.
  • Civil works program and maintenance
  • Waste collection and Kerbside Clean-ups

Business Support

Support for small business affected by COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Business owners are faced with challenging times. Take advantage of the assistance provided by different levels of government, and non-government organisations, helping during the COVID-19 pandemic.

98% of registered businesses in The Hills are classified as small, employing between 1-19 people. There are a range of stimulus and support available to our small business community. For more information on support for small businesses, click here.

Extended Operating Hours for Businesses & Construction Sites

The Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, Hon. Rob Stokes has made the following Orders under section 210.17 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

Extended Operating Hours for Businesses

Environmental Planning & Assessment (COVID-19 Development – Extended Operation) Order 2020, which allows the following changes:

1. Retail trading premises such as supermarkets, pharmacies and corner stores are allowed to operate 24 hours per day.

2. Waste disposal from retail premises can be done at any time.

3. Retailers that are part of hotels and motels are also allowed to provide food and beverages 24 hours per day.

4. Home Businesses and Home Industries can operate 24 hours per day and to employ more than 2 people other than the permanent residents of the dwelling, but not more than 5 people, providing they can abide by social distancing rules.

Notes on 4:

  • Where the business was either Exempt, or
    When prior approval was given as Complying or DA Consented Approval.
  • Does not include a new business (unless otherwise Exempt)
  • Cannot relocate a business from one premises to another (unless otherwise Exempt)

Environmental Planning and Assessment COVID-19 Development - Extended Operation Order 2020(PDF, 367KB)  

Extended Operating Hours for Construction Sites

Environmental Planning & Assessment (COVID-19 Development – Construction Work Days) Order 2020 allows the following changes:

Extended days for Construction Work – Weekday constructions site operating hours to be extended to weekends and public holidays to ensure workers can practice social distancing without a loss of productivity or jobs.

This means that builders and their employees will be able to work on construction sites seven days a week during their approved hours of operation provided they take all feasible and reasonable measures to minimise noise.  This works does not include rock breaking, rock hammering sheet piling, pile driving or similar activities

For further information in relation to the Order, read the Environmental Planning & Assessment (COVID-19 Development – Construction Work Days) Order 2020 here.

 

Everything you need to know about COVID-19, including frequently asked questions, can be found at: www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/alerts/Pages/coronavirus-faqs.aspx 

For updates on Council's response to COVID-19, please follow Council's social media handles - including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

For the latest updates on COVID-19, please visit the World Health Organisation or NSW Health