The people of the Huon Valley are well known for their strength and resilience in the face of adversity. We are Stronger Together.
This crisis has turned our way of life upside down, significantly disrupting the way we live, work and play.
Amongst the hardship, we have witnessed many acts of kindness as community members, groups and neighborhoods look out for each other.
Now and into the future we can keep working together to help our communities become even stronger than before.
Council is committed to recognising the local skills, strengths and resources across our community and will continue to support individuals, groups, clubs and organisations to be active in a variety of community-led recovery initiatives.
Please call or email us to tell us about how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted you and what ideas you have for recovery.
Below you will find resources and advice that can support your local community to build resilience.
These resources will be regularly reviewed and updated.
Huon Valley Council’s Recovery Coordinator
T: 03 6264 0300
Street Address: 40 Main Street, Huonville
Postal Address: PO Box 210, Huonville TAS 7109
Individuals and groups across our community are finding new ways to connect to support each other.
Below are some projects which have supported communities to connect during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Every Day can be Neighbour Day – Neighbour Day has aimed to increase social connection and belonging in communities across the nation and has served to remind us how important it is to build strong relationships with those who live near us. Social connections and support are even more important as the country grapples with extended periods of isolation, physical distancing measures and a re-think of how we operate our day-to-day lives. Relationships Australia support Neighbour Day events and have published a range of ideas and tips to help people create connections. Connection Cards can be downloaded here
Crisis heroes are community heroes helping those in need. Visit this free community platform where you can offer or seek help. Need help with shopping, supplies, food, mail, business or emotional support? Crisis Heroes can help.
Gather My Crew provides free technology to mobilise support around Australians doing it tough. You can use their secure and trusted platform to coordinate help during COVID-19. Visit Gather My Crew to create an online ‘support crew’ for yourself or if you want to help organise support for a friend, family member or neighbour.
Nextdoor is the neighbourhood hub for trusted connections and the exchange of helpful information, goods, and services. Nextdoor is the best way to stay informed about what’s going on in your neighbourhood—whether it’s finding a last-minute babysitter, planning a local event, or sharing safety tips. There are so many ways our neighbours can help us, we just need an easier way to connect with them.
Show your neighbours they’re not alone. At the moment some of your neighbours might need help with things like grocery shopping, sending mail or something else. If you’d like to offer some help, simply download, print and fill in one of these flyers designed by Australia Post and pop it in their letterbox. Only offer to help as much as you can – you need to keep yourself well too. Please use this
template responsibly to spread kindness throughout your community. Download your Community Calling Card here.
In these tough times, many of our local Huon Valley groups are supporting others. Visit healthconnect to learn more about these groups.
In the current rapidly changing environment of COVID-19, many of you may be already looking out for your neighbours, family and friends.
There is a possibility however, that organisations supporting a response near you may require additional volunteers.
Volunteering Tasmania plays a key role in connecting volunteers and their skills to people, places and organisations who need it most.
They maintain a database of ‘willing volunteers’, people who want to contribute in some way to help others through a crisis or disaster and match the right people to volunteer organisations in their area involved in support and recovery.
If you would like to volunteer in your local community or if your group needs new volunteers, please visit Volunteering Tasmania for more information or call them on 1800 677 895.
Huon Valley Council are committed to supporting community through recovery wherever possible.
At its 8 April 2020 Ordinary Meeting, Council agreed to take the following emergency relief actions in response to the COVID-19 crisis:
- Council will not apply penalty and interest charges on outstanding rates until 30 June 2020
- Council will consider, on an individual basis, applications for rent relief on Council-owned buildings where lessees are experiencing financial hardship until 30 June 2020
- Council will consider adoption of a Financial Hardship/Assistance Policy taking into account a Model Policy to be developed by the Local Government Association of Tasmania. (Draft policy to be presented at 29 April Ordinary Meeting.)
- Council will not proceed with debt recovery actions for ratepayers experiencing financial difficulty until adoption of a Financial Hardship/Assistance Policy
- For the purposes of development of the 2020/2021 Council Budget, the following principles are to be taken into account:
- A zero% increase on the general rate
- Rate service charges to be reflective of cost
- Fees and charges may be increased taking into account the Consumer Price Index (CPI), costs of delivering the service, and other relevant factors
- Options for relaxing depreciation requirements or extending standard asset life for 2020/2021 be considered based upon any criteria agreed with the Auditor-General (including asset condition) and subject to the Auditor-General adjusting financial indicators accordingly
- Council will create a Community Grants program to be focussed on appropriate support to local business and not-for-profit recovery or conversion to a digital environment or circular economy
- Supporting local businesses through the procurement of goods and services. The Huon Valley Council General Manager is authorised to request and accept quotes from local business only, up to an amount of $249,999.99
- Where possible and practicable to do so, Council will settle creditor invoices within a 14 day timeframe irrespective of normal trading terms
For the full report and details on provisions please read the 8 April 2020 Meeting Minutes on Meetings, Agendas & Minutes page.
Financial hardship support
Huon Valley Council has developed a Financial Hardship and Payment Assistance Policy, which provides assistance to ratepayers and community members experiencing difficulty in meeting financial obligations to Council due to genuine financial hardship.
You may be eligible for hardship assistance, where:
- You are unable to pay amounts when due and payable for reasons beyond your control (including due to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis); and
- Payment when due would cause you genuine financial hardship.
If you are experiencing financial hardship, you are encouraged to
apply for assistance as soon as possible for:
- Alternate and flexible payment arrangements of rates;
- Deferral of the payment of rates (ie. paying rates after they would normally be due); or
- Deferral or waiver in relation to Council fees or charges.
Council is willing to work with you to tailor a payment arrangement to suit your specific circumstances and encourage you to complete an application form.
If you would like to chat with Council’s Rates Officer you can ring 03 6264 0300 or email email@example.com.
Community Recovery Grants
If you have a community project that would help the wellbeing of Huon Valley residents through COVID-19, you can apply now for funding through Council’s new Community Recovery Grants program. Please visit our Community Grants page for more information.
Government and non government agencies are providing a variety of support to communities
Visit the State Government’s COVID-19 website for more information about State Government response and recovery programs.
Other Community Grants and Support
As services and community groups adjust to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are some changes to the way in which support is provided to our community. Visit healthconnecttas for more information about local confidential support services.
Concerns around the coronavirus outbreak, financial strains and practising self-isolation can be stressful and impact our mental health and wellbeing. It’s natural to feel a range of emotions, such as stress, worry, anxiety, boredom, or low mood.
It is important to seek support if you are feeling overwhelmed. Speaking with friends or family to let them know how you feel can help, and they might also appreciate talking to you about how they feel. There are also many digital mental health services that you can access online or over the phone, or you can connect with a health professional such as your GP, a psychologist, or other mental health professional.
If you are feeling distressed, seek support:
- Beyond Blue, 1300 22 46 36
- Lifeline Australia, 13 11 14
- MensLine Australia, 1300 78 99 78
- Kids Helpline Official, 1800 551 800
- Rural Alive and Well (RAW), 1300 4357 6283
- Tasmanians experiencing significant mental health problems can contact the Mental Health Services Helpline on 1800 332 388 for more immediate support
- In an emergency call 000
More mental health resources are available on coronavirus.tas.gov.au.
QPR is an online education program that aims to teach people the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to respond following three steps: Question, Persuade and Refer.
Primary Health Tasmania is encouraging all Tasmanians interested in suicide prevention to complete QPR Training.
QPR training is free for individuals and for organisations (up to 10 licences per organisation are available) and will be offered until the end of June 2021. Find out more here
Staying Connected despite physical distancing and isolation
We also know that feeling socially isolated can impact our health and mental wellbeing. It can make us feel sad, anxious, lonely and depressed. We want to make sure that during this time, you have ways to stay connected to your family, friends and community, even if you can’t see them in person. Visit our Staying Connected page to learn more about how you can maintain connections with your family, friends and community. Staying Connected
Accessing a local Psychologist through telehealth
With new Medicare telehealth rebates in place until the end of September 2020, you can see a psychologist via telehealth (i.e. videoconference or phone).
First you need a referral from your GP for a Mental Health Care Plan (unless you already have a plan in place) this will entitle you to up to ten telehealth sessions with a Psychologist with not cost involved if you are a Medicare card holder (you will be bulk billed).
The Huon Valley has a number of Psychologists working in the area who are providing telehealth services:
|Janelle Nichols||0432 951 133||Tuesday and Thursday (Books currently closed)|
|Bethan Smith||0404 650 139||8.30am – 5pm Tuesday and Friday|
|Tina Hale||6264 2800||Patients aged 15 and over only|
|Dr Toby Croft||0488 996 330||By appointment only|
|Dr Toby Croft||0488 996 330||By appointment only|
|Trevor Crowe||6298 1222||Every 2nd Wednesday|
If your finances have been impacted by COVID-19 and you are experiencing financial difficulty it is important to get help as early as possible.
Each person’s circumstances are different, and the choices you make today may have long-term implications for your financial future.
Free, confidential support and advice is available:
- National Debt Helpline. Call 1800 007 007 (open Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 4:30pm)
- Anglicare Tasmania Financial Counselling offers a free statewide service
- Financial Rights Legal Centre
- Gamblers Help offers a free, confidential service for you or your family. Call 1800 858 858 (open 24/7)
- Financial Information Service free information on financial matters. Call 132 300 (open Monday to Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm)
- Enterprise Centres Tasmania a state-wide network of independent business advisors. For more information call 1800 440 026, visit Business Tasmania website or email firstname.lastname@example.org
A list of free, confidential financial support and advice services is now available at https://coronavirus.tas.gov.au/families-community/financial-services-and-support
TasNetworks have partnered with the Australian Energy Foundation to provide free over-the-phone, energy consultations for our customers.
We know that energy costs are a big part of the household budget and that many of our customers often find it hard to lower their bills without sacrificing convenience or comfort, even more so in these uncertain times.
A consultation with an AEF energy advisor can help you understand your energy bill and provide advice on simple changes you can make at home to save power and lower your electricity bill. Find out more and book a free consultation.
Due to the COVID-19 situation, money is a big worry for many people at the moment. The Money & Mental Health – Practical Financial Skills to Manage Money guide can be helpful if money problems are affecting your mental health.
The guide offers plenty of helpful tips and information such as:
- How financial debt and money worries impact people’s mental health
- The importance of practical financial skills and how it helps with mental health, including expert advice on combating debt, knowing why people overspend, and how to manage the effects of money pressures
- Practical, useful tips and advice such as how to budget, analysing spending habits, where to save on household expenses, how to deal with debt, and how to make money management a habit
- Other useful information and links to external resources to help develop practical financial skills and healthy habits around money