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Litchfield Council Service Delivery Updates in Response to COVID-19

20 March 2020

In response to COVID-19 (coronavirus), from today, Thursday 19 March 2020, Litchfield Council has activated responsible and proactive measures to prioritise the safety of our community and staff. These measures have been considered extensively to minimise any disruption to services where possible with the primary focus being the health and safety of our community and staff.  

Litchfield Council Chief Executive Officer Daniel Fletcher said his team has focused on various scenario planning options for the impact of COVID-19 and are regularly reviewing business continuity planning to respond and mitigate the risk from the virus to Council’s operations.

As part of this proactive review, some changes will occur to certain aspects of Council’s operations and service delivery. Mr Fletcher said that with a high population of elderly and vulnerable people living in the municipality, an appropriate response was needed which includes taking action to support and protect residents and staff.

“Importantly, the majority of the community will notice minimal differences to the way they receive and rely on Council services”, Mr Fletcher said.

“Currently, with the addition of social distancing protocols of 1.5m interactions, it will be business as usual for the Ranger Services, Mobile Work Force, Waste Management and Thorak Regional Cemetery teams” Mr Fletcher said.

However, Council will be limiting gatherings and reducing the occurrence of face to face contact with frontline staff to minimise the risk to our residents and staff. This is to be effective from today, Thursday 19 March and until further notice. While we’re hoping for these measures to be in place for the shortest possible time, you should expect these arrangements to be in place for 6 months.

The following changes will occur to various aspects of Council’s services:

  • No Council organised events or meetings exceeding 10 people physically present will be permitted (this includes Council’s monthly meeting)
    • Council will ask all committees and boards that operate on Council owned or controlled land to reconsider their need to hold events and their capacity to adequately manage the risks associated with COVID-19, should our residents be utilising these facilities. NT Government’s Risk Assessment Tool.
  • The Taminmin Library will remain open, however, based on the social distancing protocols all programs and events will be cancelled until further notice. Council encourages the use of the ‘e-resources’ and ‘e-borrowing’ services. Extended book loan periods from 4 to 8 weeks will be implemented.
  • All Volunteers will temporarily cease, with existing staff utilised where possible for service provision.
  • The Litchfield Council office which includes the Customer Service Desk will remain open, however, Council requests that only customers without access to phone or internet use the customer service desk. Additional resources will be diverted to call centre facilities and to manage queries if needed.
  • Sports clubs and other hirers of Council’s recreational facilities will be asked to abide by the advice of their official professional body and the relevant health advice provided by the Federal and NT Government.
  • Thorak Regional Cemetery will remain open. Any events organised by residents or funeral directors are required to abide by the advice of their official professional body and the relevant health advice provided by the Federal and NT Government.
  • Monthly Council meetings will continue as normal with adjustments made to the room which will adhere to the 1.5m social distancing protocols.
    • Council is urging community members to reconsider the necessity to attend a Council meeting
    • Agendas are available online or if requested will be available for collection outside the council office.
    • Where you have questions regarding topics on the Council agenda, we encourage you to phone your local Councillor  
  • The Open Space Discussions with Councillors prior to the Council meeting will not be held.
  • We will aim to reduce creditor payments from 21 to 14 days to assist small business cash flow.

“These decisions are incredibly difficult to make. However, the health of the community, stakeholders, and staff, including our volunteers has, and will remain, the top priority in all decision making. The sustainability of our community is also critical. It is important to acknowledge this is about Council playing its part in this global health crisis. While the NT remains comparatively unaffected, we want it to stay that way.” Mr Fletcher affirmed.

“I encourage members of our community to be calm and careful. Follow all the simple health precautions that are being advised by the relevant health departments”.

 “Be kind, be generous, keep our economy moving forward and keep Litchfield the best place to live in the Top End”.