COVID-19 information

The below information was published at 7.07am Firday 3 April 2020. 

The State Government has declared a State of Emergency for Western Australia. For updated information, including State of Emergency Declarations and Directions see further COVID-19 State of Emergency details.

The Shire would like to assure residents and visitors that the health and wellbeing of our community is Council’s highest priority. We are actively monitoring the COVID-19 situation and closely following advice provided daily by the Department of Health.

The Shire’s COVID-19 Community Care Package aims to ease the social and financial burdens on local community members, groups and businesses that are being experienced as part of the global pandemic.

Please read our FAQs below for more details on the Community Care Package and information concerning residents, community groups, business owners and travellers.

The Shire will update details on this page frequently as new COVID-19 information arises.

If you have a particular question or concern relating to a Shire service or facility please email COVID19@amrshire.wa.gov.au.

 

Supporting the community with our COVID-19 care package

The Shire's Community Care Package has been initiated in response to the escalating coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, which is having a considerable and serious economic and social impact on the community.

The package aims to support the existing Federal and State Government measures that have been put in place to support people in the community, particularly those most vulnerable and local businesses. The package includes:

Rates, Fees and Charges

  • Zero rate increases for the 2020/2021 financial year;
  • Waiving of all non-regulatory Shire fees and charges from 26/3/2020 onwards until 30 June 2020;
  • Waiving of penalty interest charged on outstanding rates until 30 June 2020;
  • Flexible payment plans for those in vulnerable situations or experiencing financial hardship.

In Kind Support

  • Free before/after school care for workers in critical healthcare of community service roles while legally possible for the Shire to provide;
  • Support will be provided by Shire staff to support recovery activities within the community where possible.

Community Care and Business Support Funding

This fund is open from the 26 March 2020, with assessments to be completed on a rolling basis. The fund can be used to support projects or services that:

  • Responds to immediate need in our community as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Connects neighbours and community members to assist and support each other
  • Enhances people’s access to critical information and resources
  • Enables transportation and delivery of services and supplies
  • Supports people who need urgent accommodation due to the impact of the pandemic
  • Provides access to mental health and counselling services
  • Delivers technology to enable people to access information, resources and connect with other people and services
  • Continue support services through business networks and associations
  • Develops toolkits and other supports to assist businesses through the pandemic
  • Provides access to information resources for businesses
  • Delivers financial advice for the business community
  • Delivers advice for businesses who are redefining their business model in response to the pandemic
  • Supports businesses who are providing a community service in response to the pandemic, and
  • Supports businesses for activation and marketing, when they are able to reopen.

To apply, download the Community Care Package Guidelines or contact the Community Recovery Team at (08) 9780 5255 or recovery@amrshire.wa.gov.au

Community Group Newsletters

Funding recipients annoucements

  • $113,000 for the Margaret River Community Resource Centre and Just Home (read more)

 

Which Shire services and facilities are closed?

Following State and Federal Government advice, the Shire has moved to implement public closures for the following:

  • Council Meetings
  • Customer Service Desk
  • Augusta and Margaret River Recreation Centres
  • Kids Club - Crèche
  • HEART Margaret River
  • Holiday Parks - (Turner Holiday Park, Flinders Holiday Park, Alexandra Bridge Campground)
  • Margaret River Youth Precinct (Skate Park)
  • Playgrounds, public BBQs, picnic areas, beach showers and outdoor gyms

Full details of alternative service delivery models are currently being investigated. We hope to continue as many community services as possible via telephone and online means. Exact details will be posted to this page and announced via the Shire's Facebook page as soon as practically possible. 

Council Meetings

The Shire is not permitting in-person attendance at public meetings. Web links will be promoted in advance of any Council meeting held during the COVID-19 emergency to enable people to watch via a livestream video.

Meetings will still include public question time and provide for deputations. These must be received in writing prior to the meeting and will be read out by a present officer during the meeting. Please email cschiller@amrshire.wa.gov.au for more information. 

Details to watch the upcoming Council meeting are advertised on the Council Meeting minutes and agenda page. 

Customer Service

  • Office closure effective at 4pm, 23 March 2020
  • Staff will continue to be available to assist with your enquiries. Please continue to contact the Shire on 97805255 between 8.30am-4.30pm, Monday to Friday, or email amrshire@amrshire.wa.gov.au.
  • Any building permit related documents can be lodged either through the Shires online portal system or via email to amrshire@amrshire.wa.gov.au.
  • Staff will continue to be available to assist with TransWA booking and fare enquiries or customers can visit https://www.transwa.wa.gov.au/bookings-and-fares.
  • For enquiries regarding Department of Transport please contact 131156 or www.transport.wa.gov.au.

Augusta and Margaret River Recreation Centres

  • Centre closures effective at 12pm, 23 March 2020
  • Closure affects gyms, group fitness classes, aquatic centre, hydrotherapy pool, courts, and café.
  • All direct debit and upfront memberships will be automatically suspended until reopening. At this stage memberships will be suspended, not refunded, unless purchased on or after Monday 16th March 2020. For any specific enquiries or if you purchased a membership on or after Monday 16th March 2020, please email recreation@amrshire.wa.gov.au.
  • We may be looking at options for online or downloadable fitness classes in the future.
  • For some information on the importance of exercise and remaining active, please feel free to read Exercise & Sports Science Australia’s response to Covid-19 - Why exercise is more important than ever.

HEART Margaret River

  • Closure effective at 12pm, 23 March 2020

Libraries

  • Closure effective at 12pm, 23 March 2020
  • Library members can access free, remote access to the Gale Health and Wellness database via libraries in Australia & New Zealand until 30th June 2020. The site is automatically updated with the latest daily content from News Articles, Academic Journals, Reference, Magazines, Videos & Audio, and the Coronavirus topic page is linked from their home page. 

Holiday Parks - (Turner Holiday Park, Flinders Holiday Park, Alexandra Bridge Campground)

  • No new bookings or check in effective 9am, 23 March 2020
  • Existing bookings have until 5pm, 25 March to depart the facilities.
  • Closures will remain in place until at least 31 May 2020, at which time bookings and closure requirements will be reviewed. 
  • Holiday parks’ staff will be in contact shortly with existing bookings to provide the options of postponing your booking and/or refunding your deposit. 
  • If you need to contact the parks in the meantime please email turnerpark@amrshire.wa.gov.au  or flindersbaypark@amrshire.wa.gov.au or for Alexandra Bridge phone 08 9780 5676. 

Margaret River Youth Precinct (Skate Park)

  • Closure effective 12pm, 30 March 2020

Public Playgrounds & BBQs

  • Closure effective 12pm, 30 March 2020

 

Which Shire services and facilities are open?

The only exemptions to the public facilities shut down are services deemed as essential. The Shire will continue to operate the following as long as it is legally possible:

  • Kids Club - Childcare Outside School Hours Care
  • Waste

Kids Club - Childcare Outside School Hours Care

  • Before and After School will remain in operation as long as it is legally possible.
  • Enrolments for Outside School Hours Care are being terminated at the time of communicating your intent to cease Kids Club care - no notice period required, and charges are for the sessions of care that have been utilised.
  • All previous enrolments will be made available to current families when health crisis has resolved.
  • Free childcare may be available to critical health and support workers during the pandemic. Qualifying criteria and conditions apply. Email kidsclub@amrshire.wa.gov.au or phone 97805624 to find out more. 

Waste

  • All services will continue at current levels. Minor delays to kerbside collection times and deliveries may be experienced due to staggering of staff rosters and the application of additional health and safety measures.
  • The Davis Road Waste Management Facility, Witchcliffe remains open to the public and rural waste pass holders 7 days per week from 8am-4pm.
  • Cowaramup Bay Road Transfer Station remains open to the public and rural waste pass holders Wednesday and Saturday from 8am-1pm
  • All other transfer stations remain available for use by residents who have designated smart cards for those stations.

 

Restrictions on non-essential services

The Australian Government has announced new social distancing measures to protect the Australian community from the spread of the coronavirus. Restrictions have been placed on a number of non-essential services.

  • Cafes and food courts (exceptions for takeaway and home delivery);
  • Hotel bars, pubs, registered and licenced clubs (excluding bottle shops attached to these venues);
  • Indoor and outdoor markets (food markets are exempted);
  • Real estate auctions and open house inspections (private appointments only);
  • Beauty therapy, tanning, waxing, nail salons and tattoo parlours;
  • Spas and massage parlours;
  • Hairdressers and barber shops (1 person per 4 square metre rule applies in the premises);
  • Cinemas, nightclubs, casinos and adult entertainment venues;
  • Entertainment venues, theatres and stadiums;
  • Amusement parks and arcades;
  • Play centres and skate parks (indoor and outdoor);
  • Recreation centres, gyms, indoor sporting venues, health clubs and fitness centres;
  • Saunas, bathhouses and wellness centres;
  • Boot camps and personal training operating outside and inside (maximum of two persons, including the trainer);
  • Community halls, clubs, RSLs and PCYCs;
  • Libraries, community centres and youth centres;
  • Galleries, museums and historic sites;
  • Weddings (maximum of 5 people);
  • Funerals (maximum of 10 people);
  • Religious gatherings or places of worship (in enclosed spaces and other than very small groups and where the 1 person per 4 square metre rule applies).

These measures also apply to outdoor spaces associated with the above venues. 

Read more about restrictions on non-essential services.

 

Advice for food and beverage businesses

The Federal Government has ordered the closure of cafes, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, cinemas and other businesses likely to serve food and beverages.

For businesses still operating a takeaway service, to prevent the spread of COVID-19 the Shire encourages the community to:

  • Practice hygiene measures when handling and delivering food;
  • Avoid using cash where possible and instead use contactless or online payment methods;
  • Implement all social distancing measures wherever possible.

State of Emergency occasional liquor licence

Occasional liquor licences may be granted to existing licensed venues for up to 6 months to allow the sale of liquor with a takeaway or delivered meal. 

Licensees with permanent licences of the following types will be able to apply:

  • Restaurant Licence;
  • Small Bar;
  • Tavern Restricted;
  • Hotel Restricted;
  • Club Restricted;
  • Special Facility Caterer.

Packaged liquor will be limited to one bottle of wine and one 6 pack (beer, cider or pre-mixed spirits) per order (the 6 pack can be in any combination) between the permitted hours of 12 noon and 12 midnight.

The WA Government has also moved to support local wine producers with an amendment to the current liquor restrictions to allow cellar-door sales of up to nine litres of wine (12 bottles) per customer per week in Western Australia.

 

What is social distancing?

Social distancing means less contact between you and other people. It helps stop or slow the spread of infectious diseases.

Social distancing is important because COVID-19 is most likely to spread from person-to-person through:

  • Direct close contact with a person while they are infectious or in the 24 hours before their symptoms appeared;
  • Close contact with a person with a confirmed infection who coughs or sneezes;
  • Touching objects or surfaces (such as handles or hand rails) contaminated from a cough or sneeze from a person with a confirmed infection, and then touching your mouth or face.

Public gatherings have been restricted to two people by the Federal Government.

Everyone is required to stay home unless it is absolutely necessary to go outside. You are permitted to leave home for the essentials, such as:

  • Shopping for what you need - food and necessary supplies;
  • Medical or health care needs, including compassionate requirements;
  • Exercise in compliance with the public gathering requirements;
  • Work and study if you can’t work or learn remotely.

Read more on social distancing guidance.

 

When do I need to self-isolate?

For the most current information and restrictions, please visit the Federal Government Coronavirus website.

Who must self-isolate

Self-isolation means staying at home or in your hotel room for 14 days. This is to prevent the possible spread of the virus to other people.

You must self-isolate or quarantine if any of the following applies to you:

  • You arrived in Western Australia from interstate after 1.30pm Tuesday 24 March;
  • You arrived in Australia after midnight on 15 March 2020;
  • You have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19;
  • You have COVID-19.

All travellers returning home from overseas will be quarantined in a hotel or designated facility for 14 days. This will take effect from 11.59pm Saturday 28 March.

This means you:

  • Do not leave your home/hotel unless it is an emergency;
  • Do not go to public places such as work or shopping centres;
  • Do not let visitors in - only people who usually live with you should be in your home.

Advice for Senior Australians including those with existing health conditions

The health and wellbeing of senior Australians remains a primary concern in this uncertain time. COVID-19 has more serious impacts on older Australians, those over 70 years of age and Australians with existing health conditions or comorbidities.

The Federal Government strongly advises self-isolation at home to the maximum extent practicable for Australians:

  • Over 70 years of age; 
  • Over 60 years of age who have existing health conditions or comorbidities;
  • Indigenous Australians over the age of 50 who have existing health conditions or comorbidities. 

These groups should limit contact with others as much as possible when they travel outside.
 

Government assistance links for small businesses

Both the Federal and State Governments are assisting businesses to manage cash flow challenges and retain employees.

Federal Government funding info at www.business.gov.au and The Treasury

State Government funding info at www.smallbusiness.wa.gov.au 

Other assistance from the Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC)

To help businesses continue to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic, the SBDC have created the following free online workshops and webinars:

Contact the SBDC on 133 140 should you require over-the-phone business advisory services.

 

Information for community groups

The Shire supports My Community Directory which lists key information and contacts for local groups and services. Be sure to register your community group or service and use this to inform fellow community members about changes to your regular activities. The Shire routinely provides hardcopy directories at the Augusta Community Resource Centre and Margaret River Community Centre. Resources include:

 

Information for travellers and people impacted by travel restrictions

Intrastate travel restrictions

The WA Government has implemented new intrastate travel restrictions effective from midnight, Tuesday, March 31 2020. Restrictions placed on travel in the entire state includes movement through the boundaries of the following regions:

  • Perth and Peel (combined as one region due to close proximity)
  • South West
  • Great Southern
  • Goldfields-Esperance
  • Mid-west
  • Gascoyne
  • Pilbara
  • Kimberley

Source: Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development

Western Australians will not be permitted to leave their regional boundary. Police have the power to enforce these restrictions and fines of up to $50,000 can be issued.

Exemptions will apply for: 

  • Employment purposes;
  • Medical reasons;
  • Health and emergency services;
  • Transport of essential goods;
  • People living across regional boundaries, who may not have access to groceries or supplies within their region;
  • School, TAFE or tertiary study reasons;
  • Escape domestic violence or emergency;
  • Compassionate grounds.

Read more on Western Australia's Prohibiton on Regional Travel Directions.

Accommodation options for stranded or displaced travellers

Stranded or displaced travellers, including those sleeping in vehicles are advised to contact Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association who are coordinating provision of longer-term emergency self-contained accommodation.

If you are in need of assistance, please phone (08) 9780 5911 or email welcome@margaretriver.com
More information about this service here https://www.margaretriver.com/travel-safety/

International travellers

International travellers who wish to return home are being advised to contact their Embassy or Consulate immediately to assist with repatriation options.

The UN Migration Agency is also offering support to travellers who do not have adequate finances to return home. Funding is available to cover the cost of a plane ticket home, bus fare to Perth and assistance getting a passport. This includes people whose visas have expired - noting there will be no negative immigration record for using this service.

Accommodation providers who have guests who are self-isolating

It is important that people who are required to self-isolate in accordance with government protocols, be provided with support and care. Some people in Western Australia will require alternative accommodation to comply with self-isolation protocols. Should your accommodation business be in this situation, the WA Department of Health has issued advice to assist you manage the matter.

 

Official health information sources

Social media

Disability support information

Further information

 

Support services

Mental Health support

The Shire recognises the COVID-19 situation may see community members experiencing social isolation, economic uncertainty and emotional distress. If you are concerned about yourself or others we encourage you to: 

  • Visit your Doctor/GP or local hospital.
  • Refer to the Shire's Mental Health Factsheet, which includes a collated list of local contact information and helplines. 
  • View the Australian Psychological Society mental health resources that specifically address coronavirus anxiety via their website. 
  • View the Life in Mind has established Mental health support for COVID-19 webpage. This page provides vital connections to resources which are designed to support the mental health and wellbeing of those experiencing an indirect or direct impact from COVID-19. 
  • Try a range of health and wellness apps that are available such as Smiling Mind or Headspace
  • View the Think Mental Health website and use the check-up tool

Financial support

For financial support and assistance, the following support is available: 

Emergency relief

Community members needing emergency relief assistance can contact the Margaret River Community Centre Monday to Friday 9am to 1pm to access urgent support for food, fuel or pharmacy.

St Vincent de Paul also offer emergency relief across WA and can be contacted on 1300 794 054.

Welfare checks

Red Cross can provide you with a daily telephone call to check on your wellbeing at home, through a service known as Telecross. This provides peace of mind for isolated community members are at risk of an accident, illness, or health deterioration that may go unnoticed and leave you being unable to call for help. The volunteer will check to see that you are well and provide a friendly voice to wake up to each morning.

Housing advice

Just Home provides support and guidance for those experiencing housing stress. 

Resources for printing and distribution

Printable COVID-19 resources

Environmental cleaning factsheet (workplaces) 

Other general hygiene promotion posters

Translated resources

 

Links to Shire media announcements

Media releases & statements

Social Media 

Advertising

Community Newsletter

Subscribe to receive Notices and Tenders, Jobs Ads, Media Releases, or the Shire’s E-newsletter

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Contact the Shire

Postal Address

PO Box 61
Margaret River WA 6285

Margaret River

41 Wallcliffe Road
Monday to Friday
9am-4pm
Ph 08 9780 5255
Fax 08 9757 2512

Augusta

66 Allnut Terrace
Monday to Friday
9am-12pm, 1pm-4pm
Ph 08 9780 5255

Emergencies

For contact details for fire, police, bushfire brigades, hospitals, storm damage, power outages, etc please see the emergency contact page

National Relay Service

If you are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment call us through the National Relay Service

Change of details form

To ensure that you receive your Rates Notice on time we need to be updated on changes. You can do this online.