Looking to the future at the Shire of Coolgardie

Published: Wednesday, 17 June 2020 at 3:49:13 PM

The COVID-19 pandemic crisis has come on the back of drought, fires and floods which have greatly impacted regional and rural communities across Australia.

Many Councils fatigued by disaster and recovery are faced with the challenge of restricted cash flow and how to continue to deliver key services and operations.

Like many other local governments, the Shire of Coolgardie is preparing for the future and has commenced a review on how best to do business moving forward.

“As the initial impacts of COVID-19 begin to subside, this is a really valuable opportunity for the Shire to critically reflect on our operations and identify areas for improvement and innovation moving forward,” said Shire CEO James Trail.

“Modelling suggests that a ‘business-as-usual’ approach following COVID-19 will not suffice. We consider this to be a positive opportunity to do better, improve processes and create efficiencies for the benefit of our community.”

The Shire’s focus over the past 2-3 months has been on survival (ensuring the health and safety of the community as the top priority) and supporting those adversely affected by the pandemic, particularly our vulnerable residents.

This has included the implementation of the Shire’s first Meals On Wheels program and the launch of a community portal on the Shire’s website to help facilitate the continued delivery of services online.

The Shire of Coolgardie is now heading into the ‘recovery’ phase with a focus on stimulating local economic development, job creation and implementing improved operational processes.

The Shire’s priority will be to ensure staff remain safe, healthy and employed, to develop an economic stimulus strategy and advance ‘shovel ready’ projects for State and Federal Government funding opportunities.

In the short term, the Shire of Coolgardie will be implementing the below initiatives as part of the COVID-19 ‘recovery’ process:

  1. Increased cleaning services Shire-wide. While WA has successfully flattened the coronavirus curve, it is important that community members remain vigilant with social distancing and good hygiene measures for at least the next six months.

    To assist with this, the Shire has increased cleaning services at all Shire facilities by 40%. Staff are working additional hours to ensure recreation centres, libraries and the like are kept as clean as possible. This will extend to playgrounds, skate parks and other Shire facilities from 6 June 2020. 

  2. COVID-19 Safety Plans. As the Shire moves to reopen facilities and reinstate various services and programs/activities, it is obliged to do so with a duty of care for its employees and community members. To this end, the Shire has developed and implemented COVID-19 Safety Plans for each facility. 

  3. Community newsletter to transition to digital format. The Shire of Coolgardie’s CoolRambler printed newsletter will be produced and distributed in an online-only format as of June 2020. Community members and businesses can subscribe to the eNewsletter via the Shire’s website and will receive a copy each month in their email inbox. The newsletter will continue to include updates from the Shire President and CEO, project news, community events and profiles on local community groups.

  4. Rates freeze. Council has committed to a 0% increase on the rate in the dollar for this coming financial year’s rates and also a 0% increase on fees and charges. Eligible ratepayers can also apply for financial hardship consideration.

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