The Balonne Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG) has moved to stand up status in line with the Roma District Disaster Management Group (DDMG). There are no confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in the South-West region.
LDMG Chair Richard Marsh said the group, made up of representatives of Council, Queensland Health, Queensland Police Service, Queensland Ambulance Service, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, Goondir Health, Education Queensland and Care Balonne, made the decision as a precaution to ensure the Balonne community was kept safe and informed about the current novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“We were advised by the Roma DDMG that they had gone to stand up status and the group thought it was prudent to follow,” he said. “Stand up status means a threat is imminent that the community will be impacted and there will be a need for co-ordination of services to the community should that occur.”
Mr Marsh encouraged residents to help those who were unable to get to supermarkets and pharmacies.
“Look after your elderly relatives and ensure they are comfortable in their own residences. Pick up groceries and medication for them and leave it on their front step,” he said. “Now, more than ever, we need to be kind to our neighbours and relatives and help them in any way we can – without putting them in danger of exposure. Please follow the advice of Queensland Health by social distancing, self-isolating if sick, practising personal hygiene and covering your cough with a tissue or arm.”
Balonne Shire Local Disaster Coordinator Matthew Magin advised Council’s essential services would continue.
“The priority will be essential services – water, wastewater, waste collection, paying creditors and ensuring the open public amenities are cleaned more regularly to ensure community safety. This will result in some of our service response times being impacted,” he said. “However, other services such as public pools, libraries, mowing public areas and some public toilet facilities will be impacted. The Dirranbandi Community Pool closed to the public yesterday (23 March) and the St George Swimming Pool will close to the public on Monday 30 March.
“Other impacts on Council include:
- libraries closed except for book return and pick-up.
- Council and St George Depot receptions will be closed to foot traffic. Appointments can be made by calling 07 4620 8888 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
- There will be no Visitor Information Centre volunteers on site, operating hours at the St George VIC will be reviewed depending on demand
- A minimum of two public toilet facilities will be open in each community to enable more regular cleaning of these facilities for the safety of those using them
- People who have booked council facilities for an event and wish to cancel will be offered a refund
- Council will review its service levels across the board and reassign team members to areas where there is greater need
- Staff, where practical, will be asked to work from home with appropriate support and management.
“This is just an initial review of council services and if the situation deteriorates then our team will have to look at what other action can be taken.”
For the latest information on COVID-19 please go to https://www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19