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25 March 2020
Hindmarsh Shire Council has cancelled its April 1 meeting in wake of the COVID-19 threat.
Mayor Rob Gersch said council priority was the safety and wellbeing of the community, volunteers and staff and this had now been extended to include councillors.
“The Victorian Local Government Act 1989 does not permit remote attendance at council meetings which means councillors need to be physically in attendance at council meetings,” he said.
“There are no provisions in the current Act for Councillors to attend via video link, Skype or any other digital or electronic means.
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“Because of the rapidly increasing impact COVID-19 is having globally, which now includes regional Victoria, the council is doing its best to protect all levels of the community.”
Cr Gersch said the council would regularly review the situation before making decisions about a second April meeting and May and June meetings.
“The council has put appropriate processes in place to enable essential services for the Hindmarsh community to be maintained,” he said.
Chief executive Greg Wood added: “Following the announcement by the Prime Minister on Tuesday 24 March 2020, the council has now closed council-operated caravan parks throughout the shire until further notice.
“This includes the Riverside Holiday Park Dimboola, Jeparit Caravan Park and Rainbow Caravan Park. The parks remain open to support essential travel such as necessary travel-accommodation for work purposes, travel required to return to your place of residence and travel on compassionate grounds.
“Council Customer Service Centres remain closed for face-to-face contact. Staff continue to be available by telephone on 5391 4444 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.