COVID-19: How we are responding

The safety of our community and employees is our top priority.

Tamworth Regional Council is monitoring developments relating to COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) daily and assessing any potential impact on regional services and events. All health enquiries should be directed through NSW Health.

We are following direction from the NSW Government related to the three step framework for a COVIDSafe Australia.

We are currently aiming to maintain our current level of service to residents and businesses but we do ask for the community’s patience during a time where Council is taking increased calls and queries. As the COVID-19 situation changes we will follow the advice of NSW Health.

This web page will be updated daily to include the most recent information as Council becomes aware of any changes to advice from NSW Health or other government agencies or as any further decisions are made that will impact our community.

To access COVID-19 advice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and remote communities, click here.
For a range of COVID-19 resources available in languages other than English, click here.

How are we responding?

  • We are promoting the NSW Health site www.health.nsw.gov.au as the primary source of information and health updates.
  • We are working behind the scenes on other initiatives to help our residents work through the challenges facing us all in the current climate including business development webinars, a review of current works, a review of Council’s donations program selection criteria and a review of Council’s Procurement Policy. As information is available, we will continue to share it through our web and social channels and in the media, so keep an eye out.
  • We have an emergency management team established which includes our Executive Management Team and representatives from People, Culture and Safety, Communications and Community Engagement, Information Technology and our internal Local Emergency Management Officer.
  • We are actively involved in the Local Emergency Management Committee’s response to COVID-19 which includes Police, NSW Fire Brigades, SES, Health, Transport for NSW and neighbouring councils. This is allowing us to establish joint approaches and provide consistent advice.
  • We launched the Tamworth Region Trading Directory, a central hub for the most up-to-date information on business operating hours and capacity in the Tamworth region.
  • We have implemented flexible working options for our employees to continue delivering essential services. We have Business Continuity Plans in place that will ensure the Tamworth region will continue to receive essential services such as water, sewer and waste should COVID-19 impact on any of our staff.
  • We are liaising with other agencies and neighbouring Councils to ensure sharing of information and consistent messaging to our community.
  • We are continuing to develop our plans to cover a situation where COVID-19 may become widespread in Australia, and the NSW and Australian  governments move to greater restrictions on activities within the Tamworth Regional Council area.

How can Council help individuals?

  • Council Rates: Any residents who are worried about paying their rates at this difficult time should contact our Customer Service team on 6767 5555 to discuss, alternatively you can email trc@tamworth.nsw.gov.au. Each situation will be individually assessed.
  • Tamworth Region Trading Directory: The Tamworth Region Trading Directory was launched on Monday 23 March 2020. It is designed to provide our community with up-to-date information and about the operating capacities of businesses in the Tamworth region. Essential services listings include supermarkets and other food stores, pharmacies, health services, service stations and Council facilities. Non-essential business listings are linked to our partner, NBN Tamworth’s We Love It community directory, where these businesses are encouraged to create and regularly update a free listing.
  • Click and Collect library service: A new Click and Collect service was launched on Tuesday 24 March 2020, and can be accessed through www.cnl.nsw.gov.au. Readers can reserve the books they want to borrow and staff at Tamworth City Library will package them in a plastic bag, check them out and deliver to the borrower at the Library’s loading dock.
  • Online Development Hub: Tamworth Regional Council is one of the first councils in the state to offer a full service Online Development Hub for residential and commercial applications of any size. Users are able to lodge applications, seek certificates, track documents, view details and pay fees remotely, with no need to enter council offices.
  • Restaurants transitioning to take-away: Council is allowing restaurants not currently licenced that have development consents to undertake a take-away service which benefits individuals giving them a wider range of take-away meals.
  • CBD car parking fees: To allow people the best opportunity to park near the shop they are visiting to minimise travel and exposure, car parking meter charges are not applicable temporarily however rangers will continue to enforce time restrictions and unsafe situations.
  • Debt recovery for residents: No new debt recovery action for overdue rates and charges during the COVID-19 crisis is being undertaken. Council is encouraging ratepayers experiencing difficulties in paying their rates to contact us to put a payment plan in place and wishes to advise that no interest charges will be raised against the fourth quarters 2019/2020 rates instalment (in accordance with Section 567 of the Local Government Act 1993). Council will review this decision at its June 2020 meeting.
  • Development Application (DA) fees: Full refunds are being provided to any DA applicants wanting to withdraw applications currently under assessment. Note: This does not include DAs that have already been approved.
  • Virtual Programs: Numerous parts of Council are shifting the way they deliver programs to the community to enable accessibility at this difficult time. This has seen activities including Tamworth City Library’s “Baby Book Time” and various Youth Week programs move online. Other online programs that will soon be released will include the Tamworth Regional Council School Holiday Program, and activities from Tamworth Regional Sports Dome, Tamworth Regional Gallery, Tamworth City Library and The Tamworth Regional Youth Centre.
  • For information on initiatives for individuals and households being implemented by other levels of Government, visit the following:
  • For access to other services in this difficult time visit the following:
    • For financial counselling, including advice on managing debt, contact the free and confidential National Debt Helpline by calling 1800 007 007 or visit MoneySmart for advice to help you manage your money.
    • For those experiencing domestic violence, contact 1800 RESPECT, or if in immediate danger, please call 000. Mensline Australia on 1300789978 and the Men's Referral Service on 1300766491 also offer support to people using violence.
    • Lifeline offers personal crisis support services. Call 131 114 at any time. Kids Helpline is a free service for young people aged 5 to 25. Kids, teens and young adults can call 1800 551 800 at any time.
    • Those on a low income may be eligible to apply for a 'No Interest Loan'. For more information and details on how to apply, visit Good Shepherd Microfinance.
    • To test eligibility for income support payments including JobSeeker, contact Services Australia by visiting servicesaustralia.gov.au.

How can Council help businesses?

  • Council rates: Any residents who are worried about paying their rates at this difficult time should contact our Customer Service team on 6767 5555 to discuss, alternatively you can email trc@tamworth.nsw.gov.au. Each situation will be individually assessed.
  • Delivery curfew removed for food stores: A temporary blanket exemption from any delivery curfews has been imposed for supermarkets and shops of essential household items across the Tamworth region. This took effect on Tuesday 17 March 2020, and will continue until further notice.
  • Restaurants transitioning to take-away: Council is allowing restaurants not currently licenced that have development consents to undertake a take-away service.
  • Free access to Grants Hub: Funding available for community groups, sporting clubs, not-for-profits and businesses can be found through the Tamworth Grants Hub which Council has made available free to the wider community. Anyone who accesses the Tamworth Grants Hub through Council’s website can register for free, search for funding opportunities, set up email alerts for new grants, create a list of favourite grants and even get tips to help with grant applications. It also has a quick list of Coronavirus, bushfire, drought and disaster funding opportunities.
  • Online Development Hub: Tamworth Regional Council is one of the first councils in the state to offer a full service Online Development Hub for residential and commercial applications of any size. Users are able to lodge applications, seek certificates, track documents, view details and pay fees remotely, with no need to enter council offices.
  • Tamworth Region Trading Directory: The Tamworth Region Trading Directory was launched on Monday 23 March 2020. It is designed to provide our community with up-to-date information and about the operating capacities of businesses in the Tamworth region. Essential services listings include supermarkets and other food stores, pharmacies, health services, service stations and Council facilities. Non-essential business listings are linked to our partner, NBN Tamworth’s We Love It community directory, where these businesses are encouraged to create and regularly update a free listing.
  • Business know-how: Council’s Economic Development team has regular communications with the Office of Small Business Commission, Service NSW and Tamworth Business Chamber as part of its work to support local business. Through its regular electronic newsletters, the team is working to raise awareness among local business in regards to the free resources available to develop and adapt their business.
  • Fast tracking of invoice payments: To assist local businesses maintain cash flows and pay their bills.
  • Footpath advertising and use of additional public space for take-away services fees: No fees are being charged.
  • Development Application (DA) fees: Full refunds are being provided to any DA applicants wanting to withdraw applications currently under assessment. Note: This does not include DAs that have already been approved. 
  • Debt recovery for residents: No new debt recovery action for overdue rates and charges during the COVID-19 crisis is being undertaken. Council is encouraging ratepayers experiencing difficulties in paying their rates to contact us to put a payment plan in place and wishes to advise that no interest charges will be raised against the fourth quarters 2019/2020 rates instalment (in accordance with Section 567 of the Local Government Act 1993). Council will review this decision at its June 2020 meeting. 
  • Flexible approach to enforcement and compliance: Council is limiting enforcement action to matters that are of imminent risk to public or environmental safety, allowing business operations to adapt to the changing consumer demand. Note: Food businesses will continue to be required to meet food safety standards at all times.
  • Support for local business: Council is continuing to work with businesses to ensure they are maximising the assistance available to them through economic stimulus packages across all levels of government.
  • Support for organisations leasing Council properties: Council will work with local business to allow those impacted by the crisis to pause or suspend their rental payments. These requests will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis but could include the amortisation of outstanding amounts, lease extensions, a reduction in fees or a combination of these options.
  • Reimbursements of charges for land development: Council will reimburse any water and sewer headworks charges that have been paid for any parcel of land developed and with a linen release date between 1 March 2018 and 31 March 2020 that currently remain unsold. The charge will be payable upon settlement for the sale of the land.  
  • For information on initiatives for business being implemented by other levels of Government, visit the following:

 

Community Facilities

A state and federal government advisory has been issued regarding events and public gatherings. Visit the NSW Health website for more information.

With some restrictions starting to lift, residents are reminded to practice good hygiene, social distancing and to adhere to group gathering limits to continue to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Below is a list of changes to community facilities. 

Venue/Community Facility Name Facility Status
All Playgrounds - click here for a full list Now open as part of step 1 of COVIDSafe Australia Framework
All Public Camping Grounds - click here for a full list Open as of Monday 1 June 2020
Australian Equine and Livestock Events Centre Temporarily Closed
Australian Country Music Hall of Fame Temporarily Closed
Libraries (Tamworth City, South Tamworth and Kootingal) Open from Monday 1 June
Normal operating hours for each site can be found here.
Manilla Visitor Information Centre Temporarily Closed
Moonbi Museum Temporarily Closed
National Guitar Museum Temporarily Closed
Nundle Visitor Information Centre Temporarily Closed
Swimming Pools (All) Temporarily Closed
Tamworth Community Centre Temporarily Closed
Tamworth Miniature Railway Temporarily Closed
Tamworth Powerstation Museum Temporarily Closed
Tamworth Regional Council - Ray Walsh House Office including Development Hub Open from Monday 18 May 2020
Monday to Friday - 8:30am - 4:00pm
Tamworth Regional Council - Manilla Office Open from Monday 18 May 2020
Monday to Friday - 8:30am - 4:00pm
Tamworth Regional Council - Barraba Office Open from Monday 18 May 2020
Monday to Friday - 8:30am - 4:00pm
Tamworth Regional Council - Nundle Office Open from Monday 18 May 2020
Wednesday - 10am - 2pm
Friday - 10am - 2pm
Tamworth Regional Gallery Open from Monday 1 June 2020
Tuesday to Friday - 10am to 5pm
Saturday and Sunday - 10am to 4pm
Tamworth Sports Dome Temporarily Closed
Tamworth Visitor Information Centre Open from Monday 1 June 2020
This includes the National Guitar Museum, Wax Museum, and the Stings and Beans Cafe.
Monday to Sunday - 10am to 4pm
Waste No More Temporarily Closed

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