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Council reviews Business Continuity Plan in response to COVID-19

Published: 18th March 2020

Longreach Regional Council received a briefing from health authorities yesterday and reviewed its Business Continuity Plans in response to the growing impact of COVID-19.

Council considered appropriate steps it can take now, and what steps it may be required to take in the future, to respond to the situation as it evolves. It is implementing a workforce management plan to ensure the continuity of vital services such as water treatment, rubbish collection, and administrative support. It will implement social distancing where possible, by considering which meetings can be conducted via teleconference, adjusting rosters to separate key personnel, identifying backup personnel for key roles, and making provisions for staff to work remotely if required.

Council has taken a number of strategic decisions regarding services in response to the pandemic. It is suspending certain community programs at the Longreach Library, such as the first-five forever program. It is also placing a hold on any new bookings for major facilities such as Showgrounds, Town Halls, and the Longreach Civic Centre. It will review these measures again at the end of May; or sooner as the situation develops further.

Council has also announced it is extending the discount period for on-time rates payment from 27 March to a new due date of 1 May. It is encouraging ratepayers to take advantage of online payments via Council’s website and B-Pay services.

The Longreach Childcare Centre will be kept open for as long as possible, however, the Mobile Childcare Unit has been suspended. While every effort will be made to keep the centre open, Council says it is monitoring developments and has considered the circumstances under which it would be forced to amend services. Council has committed to keeping families informed at all times.

Longreach Regional Council was due to have its final ordinary meeting of the current term in Isisford on Thursday – but has moved the meeting to Longreach. Deputy Mayor, Cr Leonie Nunn, will assume the chair for the meeting following confirmation that Mayor Ed Warren is in self-isolation following a meeting with Senator Susan McDonald, who has tested positive for COVID-19. 

Cr Nunn said the most important thing the community can do is practice good hygiene and follow the advice of health authorities.

“The one thing that stood out from the briefing we received yesterday was just how important good hygiene and social distancing is in stopping the spread of the virus. It’s very important that we slow the spread down, even in remote regions such as ours, so that our health system has the best chance of handling this pandemic.

“Our remoteness doesn’t give us a free pass – we still need to play our part with good hygiene and common sense.” 

Council is encouraging anyone who wants to stay informed about the pandemic to make use of official sites such as qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19 and health.gov.au

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