Coronavirus COVID-19

The Shire of Wongan-Ballidu is monitoring regular information received from State and Federal Government and is following directives from these departments to ensure your safety and well-being.  Shire management are responding to the advice from State and Federal Government authorities and adjusting its services accordingly to help prevent the further spread of the COVID-19 virus.  Current measures implemented by the Shire to limit the spread of the virus include:

  • Social distancing measures, hand washing and surface disinfecting protocols for all Shire staff and contractors.  
  • Social distancing protocols for residents visiting the Shire Administration Office and Community Resource Centre.  Wherever possible,  residents are asked to pay using EFTPOS facilities or utilise online and telephone services. 
  • Providing support and information for organisations and other service providers within the Shire.
  • Coordinating the “Neighbours in Need” initiative to provide volunteer support to vulnerable community members.
  • Although the library has reopened, a home delivery service is available for patrons patrons to receive books and other loan items. 

We recommend you visit the WA Department of Health website for further health advice or call the Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080 for further information and advice.  

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WHAT ARE THE CURRENT TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS WITHIN THE REGION?

As of Friday 5 June 2020, most regional travel restrictions have been removed.  Travel is now permitted throughout all regions within WA, except for entry into remote Aboriginal communities.  Click on the link to visit the WA Government website for further information.

WHAT ARE THE CURRENT RESTRICTIONS ON PUBLIC GATHERINGS?

Phase 4 commenced on Saturday, 27 June (11.59pm Friday, 26 June).  Phase 5, expected to be implemented on Saturday, 18 July has been pushed back to a new tentative start date of Saturday, 24 October. A final decision on whether Phase 5 can proceed on this date, or if it can be brought forward, will be decided in October. The official WA Government website provides continuous updates.  Click here to read more.

ARE THE SHIRE OFFICES OPEN?

Both the Community Resource Centre and the Shire administration building are open between 9am and 4:30pm.  

Residents are requested to follow strict social distancing and hygiene protocols when visiting our facilities.    Wherever possible, we request you conduct your transactions online or by phone.   Contact the Shire on 9671 2500 or the CRC on 9671 2550 for further assistance.

HAVE YOUR FACILITIES REOPENED

All facilities are open with the exception of Wongan Hills Memorial Swimming Pool which is closed for the season.

HOW CAN I PROTECT MYSELF AND OTHERS?

The Department of Health advises the most effective way to mitigate the risk of contracting Coronavirus is to practice good hygiene and social distancing.   Click here to view the Department of Health website for reliable information and advice.  

  • Stay home if you are experiencing a fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue or shortness of breath.
  • Wherever practicable, stay at home and limit your excursions to essential shopping and medical visits.  If your employer can to offer you flexible working arrangements, work from home.
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Dry your hands.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a flexed elbow.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Use and immediately bin tissues and close the lid on the bin.
  • Maintain a distance of 1.5m at all times.

WHEN SHOULD I BE WORRIED AND WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF THE VIRUS?

Based on information from the Department of Health, some people may be at higher risk of infection, such as people who have other illnesses that suppress the immune system or make them more vulnerable to respiratory disease. This includes people with lung disease or diabetes, those who have suppressed immune systems, and the elderly.

Coronavirus can cause a range of symptoms from mild illness to pneumonia.  Affected people may experience:

  • fever
  • flu-like symptoms
  • difficulty breathing

If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms or have been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with or showing symptoms of COVID-19, the advice is to self-isolate and seek urgent medical advice.  Call the Public Health Information Line 1800 020 080.

IS THERE ANY INFORMATION ON WA CASES AT THIS STAGE?

The Western Australia Governenment's Department of Health has published information with regard to cases within the state.  Read more.

IF I HAVE BEEN TOLD TO SELF-ISOLATE, WHAT SHOULD I DO?

Follow the guidelines provided by the Department of Health.

CAN OUR LOCAL DOCTOR AND HOSPITAL CONDUCT COVID-19 TESTING AND OFFER TREATMENT?

If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms or have been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with or is showing symptoms of COVID-19,  do not visit the Wongan Hills Medical Centre or Hospital. You are advised to immediately call the dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398.  Your case will be assessed, and further instruction given.  

The Wongan Hills Medical Centre will only be attending to patients who have made an appointment by phone (08) 9671-1000.  Please do not visit the Medical Centre without an appointment.  If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms it is imperative that you remain at home and call the hotline.    

WHAT IS THE SHIRE DOING TO SUPPORT OUR COMMUNITY?

To ensure we are proactive in preparing to provide our community with ongoing support, one step we are taking is to review our Shire Volunteer Register.  We are coordinating assistance to members of the community facing challenges and increasing isolation due to COVID-19.  Residents who wish to request assistance may do so by completing the online request.  If required, these forms can be collected from the CRC.  Click here for further information.

If you believe you may, in the coming months, have the capacity to volunteer to assist the community through activities coordinated by the Shire, we would love to hear from you. Shire Volunteers will be required to undertake a short screening questionnaire for insurance purposes, hold a current police clearance, and will be required to adhere to all health and hygiene guidelines as prescribed by the federal and state Departments of Health. In accordance with our duty of care and responsibility to our community, we especially encourage those that are considered minimal to low risk of contracting COVID-19 to consider registering on our volunteer database.  Click here to fill in the electronic registration form.  Alternatively, forms can be collected from the CRC.  Please contact Alana Wigmore at the Shire Community Resource Centre on 9671 2551 or mcs@wongan.wa.gov.au for further information.

WHAT FINANCIAL SUPPORT IS AVAILABLE FOR INDIVIDUALS?

DSS Emergency Relief provides immediate financial or material aid to eligible people. This may constitute food parcels, clothes or vouchers (for example for supermarket, utilities or petrol).

Client eligibility to receive services funded under the DSS Emergency Relief is restricted solely to people unable to pay their bills or at imminent risk of not being able to do so.

 Emergency Relief aims and objectives include:

  • assisting people to deal with their immediate crisis situation;
  • delivering services in a way that maintains the dignity of the individual and families;
  • referring people to other relevant services, to help them pay bills or reduce the risk of being unable to pay their bills; and
  • encouraging greater self-reliance.

There may be support available either directly or remotely to eligible people in your local government area. To locate a provider please visit http://waconnect.org.au  or the Department of Social Services Grants Service Directory https://serviceproviders.dss.gov.au/

In addition to Emergency Relief, DSS also funds Commonwealth Financial Counselling and Financial Capability Activities.  The objectives of these Activities is to support eligible individuals and families to navigate financial crises, build financial wellbeing, financial capability, and resilience. Financial Wellbeing and Capability services provide support to vulnerable people and those most at risk of financial and social exclusion and disadvantage.

Access to Superannuation

Individuals can access up to $10,000 of their super in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21.  Find out more visit the Australian Government Treasury website or from mid-April, apply through MyGov by clicking this link.

Retirees

There is a temporary reduction to minimum drawdown requirements for account-based pension.  Find out more here.

Financial Support

Expanded eligibility for some payments and moves to make them easier to claim.  Claim online via Services Australia  or by calling 132 850.

Economic Support Payment

$750 payments for people on certain government payments.  This will be paid automatically to people who are eligible.  Find out more by visiting the Australian Government Treasury  website.

Relief Services (No Interest Loans Scheme)

Find out more by visiting the Moneysmart website.  (Search 'No Interest Loans Scheme).

Early Childhood Education and Care Relief

Free relief while supporting child care services to keep their doors open and employees in their job.  For more information visit the Australian Government website and scroll down to 'Education and Child Care information'.

Renting

Evictions will be put on hold over the next six months, for thos in financial distress.  New arrangements were announced on 30 March.  Further information will follow.  Stay up-to-date by visiting Australian Government Business Webpage.

WA Government Support - Household fees & charges

A freeze will be placed on household fees and charges, including electricity, water, motor vehicle charges, the emergency services levy and public transport fares.  No disconnection for power and water.  Visit the COVID-19 WA Government Response website for more information.

Energy Assistance Package

Payments will inccrease from $300 to $600 for eligible concession card-holders.  Visit the COVID-19 WA Government Response website for more information.

I HAVE BEEN/STILL AM WORKING FROM HOME.  CAN I BE COMPENSATED FOR MY EXPENSES?

Working from home expenses

The ATO announced special arrangements to make it easier for people to claim deductions for working from home this year. Details are available at ato.gov.au/workingfromhome

Additionally, The ATO has introduced a simplified method for claiming deductions for anyone working from home as a result of COVID-19.  Between 1 March and 30 June 2020, taxpayers will be able to claim 80 cents per work hour for all their additional running expenses, rather than needing to calculate costs for specific running expenses. This new method is designed to make tax returns simpler for anybody who has recently transitioned to working from home due to COVID-19, and ensures they are able to easily claim their relevant deductions. This information has been summarised into a Working from home media release.

Other resources you might find useful is the ATO working from home poster.

ARE THERE ANY MENTAL HEALTH AND FAMILY SUPPORT SERVICES AVAILABLE?

During this time we urge you to consider your mental health and that of your loved ones.  We have provided links below to services that may assist you.  Please also remember to register for our "Neighbours in Need" program, even if it is to assist with the sense of isolation.

Get help to cope with life's changes.  Visit the following websites for support:

Links to online counselling can be found here or call Lifeline 13 11 14 (24 hours) or Kids helpline 1800 55 1800.  

The WA mental health website also provides useful information and support.

WHAT ASSISTANCE IS AVAILABLE FOR NOT-FOR-PROFIT AND COMMUNITY ORGANISATIONS?

Grants are available for eligible not-for-profit and community organisations who are experiencing financial hardship related directly to COVID-19.  Apply for grant support by visiting Lotterywest or by calling 131 777.

Not-for-profit organisations may also be eligible for benefits being made available to small business.  Go to the following FAQ on support for small business to find out more.

WHAT SUPPORT IS BEING PROVIDED FOR SMALL BUSINESS?

The Small Business Development Corporation as also created a COVID-19 assistance center to provide dedicated guidance on available support options.  To access the service, contact 133 140 or email info@smallbusiness.wa.gov.au.  Find out more by visiting the SBDC Website.

Job Keeper Subsidy

The Job Keeper subsidy pays $1500 per fortnight per employee for up to six months.  Available to businesses, not-for-profits and sole traders.  Support payments are exempt from paying payroll tax.  Employees will be notified by their employer if they intend to claim the payment of their behalf.  Find out more at the Australian Government Treasury webpage.

WA Government support for businesses

Payroll tax paying businesses with a payroll between $1 million and $4 million will receive a one-off grant of $17,500.  $1 million payroll tax threshold brought forward by six months to July 1, 2020.  Businesses can now apply to defer payment of their 2019-20 payroll tax until July 21, 2020.  Visit the Western Australian Government Website for further information (search Payroll Tax Employer Guide).

Boosting cash flow for employers

Up to $10,000 to eligible small and medium-sized businesses and not-for-profits that employ peole, with a minimum payment of $20,000.  Autamatically applied to the accounts of eligible businesses when they lodge their activity statement for the relevant periods.  Find out more at the Australian Government Treasury webpage.

Supporting apprentices and trainees

Wage subsidy of up to $21,000 per apprentice or trainee.  Talk to the Australian Apprenticeship Support Network (AASN).  Search for your local AASN via the website.

Loan Support

Government will provide lenders with a guarantee for loans, to increase their willingness and ability to provide credit.  Loans of up to $250,000 up to three years, with an initial six-month repayment holiday.  For more information, visit the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science website (select 'coronavirus information'.  Information can also be found by visiting the Australian Government Treasury webpage.

Backing businesses to invest

Instant asset write-off threshold has been increased to $150,000. Now includes larger businesses.  A time limited 15-month investment incentive to support business investment and economic growth over the short-term, by accelerating depreciation deduction.  

Check your eligibility for the instant asset write- off with the Australian Taxation Office 

For information visit: Business.gov.au (select ‘Coronavirus information’)

Find out more at Treasury.gov.au/coronavirus

AS A BUSINESS OWNER, WHAT OTHER SUPPORT SERVICES ARE AVAILABLE?  WHO CAN I TALK TO?

Financial Counselling Australia is a great resource for financial hardship and business difficulties. Feel free to contact them here www.financialcounsellingaustralia.org.au/

USEFUL LINKS AND RESOURCES

To receive regular updates and information, we recommend the Federal Government's 'Coronavirus Australia' app which can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or Google Play if you have an android device.  

The following links provide the latest medical information on how to prevent the spread of the virus, and what to do if you are experiencing symptoms.  

HEALTHY WA

AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

HEALTHDIRECT

WA GOVERNMENT INFORMATION FOR BUSINESS AND COMMUNITIES

DEPARTMENT OF HOME AFFAIRS – TRANSLATING AND INTERPRETING SERVICES

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) NATIONAL HEALTH PLAN RESOURCES

USEFUL PHONE NUMBERS

IF YOU ARE SHOWING ANY SYMPTOMS OF THE VIRUS 1800 675 398

CORONAVIRUS HEALTH INFORMATION LINE 1800 020 080

TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS AND PUBLIC GATHERING INFORMATION HOTLINE 13 26 843

Latest News

Upcoming Events

There are no upcoming events at this time.