A local we can count on

Useful information for individuals, workers, business owners and members of the public on COVID-19.

NSW COVID-19 Hotline 13 77 88 run by Service NSW will answer inquiries on restrictions, cost of living assistance, financial assistance for business and rules around social distancing. Please also refer to www.nsw.gov.au 

* compiled from various Federal and NSW Governments web pages. 
* last updated Friday, 03/04/2020.

For the latest information about current situation and case numbers, please visit the Australian Government Department of Health website, here: current situation and case numbers.

You can also visit the NSW Government’s response to COVID-19 website here: information and advice on COVID-19.

For the latest update and information from the Local Health District, including information about hospital visitations, please visit:

·         Northern NSW Local Health District.

·         Hunter New England Local Health District.

For advice from the World Health Organisation, please visit: Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic.

Governments Advice to slow the spread of COVID-19.

What you can do to help to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Australia:

1.      Good Hygiene.

2.      Self-isolation.

3.      Social distancing.

For more information, please visit: ways to protect yourself and others.

For Information for Health Professionals, please visit: Health Professional and COVID-19.

For information on the temporary suspension of all non-urgent elective surgery, please visit: elective surgery

Information and updates from the North Coast Primary Health Network.

Updates on North Coast Primary Health Network’s (NCPHN) response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Providing the latest advice and information to the community, general practice (GP), Aboriginal Medical Services (AMS) and the broader primary care workforce in the North Coast area. For more information, please visit NCPHN.

Restrictions on facilities and gatherings, Public Health Orders.

From 31 March 2020, you must stay at home, unless you are going to:
* work and education, where you can’t work remotely
* shop for food and essentials
* medical needs or the care of others
* exercise.

Existing rules around 10 people at funerals and 5 people at weddings still apply.

Do not gather in public with more than 2 people except
* for members of the same household
* where the gathering is essential for work or education.

People aged over 70, aged over 60 with pre-existing conditions, or Indigenous people aged over 50 should stay home wherever possible for their own protection.

The following places have been directed to be closed to the public:

* Pubs and registered clubs, except for the purposes of selling food or beverages for people to consume off-site and providing accommodation (including allowing food and drinks to be consumed in a person’s room).
* Food and drink premises, except for the purpose of selling food or beverages for people to consume off-site (or in a person’s room if in a hotel or motel) (for example restaurants and cafés).
* Places of public worship, except for the purposes of conducting wedding services (with a maximum attendance of no more than five people) and funeral services (with a maximum attendance of no more than 10 people). In hardship cases, States and Territories can provide exemptions in relation to attendance at funerals.
* Spas (including where they are part of a hotel), nail salons, beauty salons, waxing salons, tanning salons, massage parlours.
* Community facilities (for example community halls).
* Entertainment facilities (for example theatres, cinemas, music halls, concert halls and dance halls).
* Amusement centres (for example places to play billiards, pool, pinball machines or video games).
* Indoor recreation facilities (for example squash courts, indoor swimming pools, gyms, table tennis centres, health studios, bowling alleys and ice rinks).
* Public swimming pools.
* Caravan parks and camping grounds, except for staff, permanent residents, or those who have no other place of permanent residence.
* Food courts within shopping centres, noting that any food and beverages premises that are part of the food court may remain open and serve products for people to consume off the shopping centre premises.
* Markets, except for food markets.
* Micro-breweries or small distilleries holding a drink on-premises authorisation under the Liquor Act 2007 or cellar door premises, except for the purposes of selling food or beverages for persons to consume off the premises.
* Galleries, museums and libraries.
* National Trust properties and Historic Houses Trust of NSW properties.
* Auction houses.
* Betting agencies and gaming lounges.
* Casinos, except for the purpose of providing hotel or motel accommodation (and providing food and beverages to persons using that accommodation to consume in their rooms).
* Tattoo parlours.
* Sex services premises.
* Strip clubs.

The restrictions apply across NSW, including regional and rural NSW.

For more detail, please visit: information for businesses and employees and public health order.

For more information about weddings and funerals, please visit events and venues

For information about accommodation facilities, including caravan parks and camping grounds, please visit accommodations and facilities

To report breaches of orders.

The best and most appropriate way to report any breaches and concerns around people acting contrary to self-isolation or health orders is by contacting Crime Stoppers NSW on 1800 333 000 or by visiting nsw.crimestoppers.com.au

Advice from NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NSW NPWS)
NPWS has decided to close the following from 26 March 2020 until further notice in response to the COVID-19 emergency.
* All campgrounds, in line with the Government Public Health Order
* Most visitor centres, cafes, and high-visitation areas
For more information, please visit NSWNPWS

Queensland Border Control and Closure.

For information about Queensland border closure, please visit border closure

To apply for a Queensland Entry Pass, please visit border pass

Category of essential travel:
* National or State Security Officer or Government employee
* Health Services worker
* Emergency Services worker
* Transport, freight and logistics worker
* Specialist skills worker
* People living and working close to a border
* Compassionate entry or compulsion of law

Resources and supports for businesses, workers, customers and individuals, impacted by COVID-19.

         Information about the NSW Government Health Boost and Stimulus Package, please visit: NSW Government health and economic stimulus

      Information about the NSW Government 2nd economic stimulus package, please visit: NSW Government 2nd stimulus.  

         Information about NSW Government Payroll tax waivers, please visit: Revenue NSW and COVID-19.

         Information about NSW Government waivers of fees and charges for small businesses to be facilitated through Service NSW, please visit: COVID-19 support for small businesses

 Information about and to access a free and dedicated Business Concierge, please visit: NSW business concierge

         Information and support for small business owners available from the NSW Small Business Commissioner, please visit: support from the Small Business Commissioner.

         For information on consumer and business rights, please visit: NSW Fair Trading.

         Commonwealth Income support for jobseekers and individuals, please visit: support for individuals.

         Commonwealth support for businesses, please visit: support for businesses.  

         Commonwealth support for sole traders without employees, please visit: support for sole traders.

         For information on COVID-19 and Australian workplace laws, please visit: Fair Work Ombudsman.

         Support available from the Australian Taxation Office, please visit: support from the ATO. If you or your business are experiencing financial difficulties because of COVID-19, phone our Emergency Support Infoline on 1800 806 218.

         Support for businesses and individuals available from the Australian Banking Association, please visit: Financial hardship.

         Information for renters, please visit: Renting and COVID-19.

         For advice on managing COVID-19 risks and work health and safety, please visit: Safe Work NSW or Safe Work Australia

Information on free childcare during COVID-19, please visit free child care package.  

Advice from the NSW Department of Education, TAFE NSW and Southern Cross University.

I understand that the issue regarding school closure is being discussed and that teachers and parents want clarity on this issue. I, alongside NSW Labor Leader Jodi McKay MP and my NSW Labor Parliamentary colleagues, have asked the NSW Government to end the confusion about school closure.

The following information is taken from the NSW Department of Education’s webpage:

The NSW Department of Education is introducing proactive measures to limit the impact of COVID-19 in our schools.

The Premier has announced that from Tuesday 24 March parents are encouraged to keep their children at home and access their school’s learning from home programs.

These measures have been put in place to help minimise the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in NSW.

We continue to work closely with NSW Health and the Australian Government to monitor and respond to developments and to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff.

If you or your child is unwell with a respiratory illness, stay at home until symptoms clear up.

For the latest updates and information about COVID-19 (coronavirus) and NSW schools, universities and childcare centres, please visit: Schools, universities and childcare and NSW Department of Education COVID-19.

TAFE NSW is pausing all training and educational delivery starting Monday 30 March.

During the temporary pause, our teaching teams will be working to get everything ready for classes to recommence on 27 April.

For information about COVID-19 and NSW TAFE, please visit: TAFE NSW Updates.

For COVID-19 latest information for Southern Cross University students and staff, please visit Southern Cross University

Travelling to and from Australia.

Advice from the Department of Home Affairs.

From midnight AEDT on 28 March 2020, all travellers arriving in Australia will be required to undertake a mandatory 14-day quarantine at designated facilities (for example, a hotel), in their port of arrival.

From 9pm AEDT 20 March 2020, only Australian citizens, residents and immediate family members can travel to Australia.

You can travel to Australia if you are an Australian citizen, a permanent resident, an immediate family member of an Australian citizen or permanent resident or are a New Zealand citizen usually resident in Australia. If you are an immediate family member holding a temporary visa you will need to provide us with evidence of your relationship. Travellers who have a compassionate or compelling reason to travel to Australia can apply for an exemption.

Australian citizens and Australian permanent residents are restricted from travelling overseas from 25 March 2020 at 12:00hrs AEDST.

This travel restriction does not apply to:

* people ordinarily resident in a country other than Australia
* airline and maritime crew and associated safety workers
* people engaged in the day to day conduct of outbound and inbound freight
* people whose travel is associated with essential work at offshore facilities
* people travelling on official government business, including members of the Australian Defence Force.

Travellers who believe they meet a travel restriction exemption can apply online to the Commissioner of the ABF.

For more information, please visit: COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and the Australian border.

Advice on visitors to Residential Aged Care Facilities to protect older Australians.

Older people are more susceptible to getting sick with COVID-19. The Australian Government has put in place new restrictions to protect older Australians living in residential aged care facilities. For more information, please visit: Australian Government Department of Health Fact sheet. Please check with individual facilities for further information.

Advice from the Department of Communities and Justice.

         Coronavirus information for staff, please visit: COVID-19 and DCJ staff.

         Important information about COVID-19 for Specialist Homelessness Service (SHS) providers, please visit: SHS Providers and COVID-19.

         Information for people attending courts and tribunals, please visit: Courts and Tribunals.  

         Information about visiting NSW Correctional Centres, please visit: Social visits at all NSW Correctional Centres. *Social visits at all NSW prisons have been temporarily suspended, visits will recommence as soon as it is safe to do so.

Advice from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
* For those who are now working from home, you may be able to claim some expenses. For more information, please visit ATO working from home. 

Advice for Carers.
Respite days are available for carers and care receivers who are separated due to coronavirus, or who are self-isolating. You can use 63 respite days each calendar year to take a break from caring without your payment stopping. For more information, please visit carers and COVID-19

Advice from Transport for NSW.

To ease the burden on the health system and protect vulnerable people, Transport for NSW has deferred the need for drivers over the age of 75 to undertake a medical review to confirm they are fit to drive. For more information, please visit: drivers over 75 Medical Review.

Advice from Australia Post.

Australia Post reiterates that it remains fully operational across Australia during government restrictions on non-essential activity. For more information, please visit: Australia Post and COVID-19.

Advice and updates from Woolworths, Coles and Aldi.

·         Woolworths.

·         Coles.

·         Aldi.

·         IGA.

Supermarkets across the State are now able to receive deliveries 24 hours a day to restock their shelves under new rules introduced by the NSW Government. Supermarkets and pharmacies are now able to open 24/7.  There is no need to panic buying. See here: 24/7 Deliveries and Open 24/7

Please note that many local and independent businesses, including fruits & vegetables shops, butcheries and bakeries, are still open and offering home delivery options. I encourage you to support our local businesses. 

Advice from Food Standards Australia and New Zealand.

Key points:
* There is no evidence that COVID-19 is transmitted through food.
* Extra care should be taken with hygiene and health to reduce the risk.
* Anyone with suspected symptoms of respiratory illness should avoid preparing food for other people.
* Businesses need to follow any social distancing requirements requested by the Australian Government.

For more information, please visit Food Standards AUNZ

Local Councils and COVID-19.

For more information about the impact of COVID-19 on the services provided by your Local Government (Council), please visit:

·         Lismore City Council.

·         Kyogle Shire Council. Please call 02 6632 1611.

·         Tenterfield Shire Council.

·        Tweed Shire Council

 📞 If you or someone you know is distressed, the following free services are there to help:

* If life is in danger of for urgent medical intervention, 000 (voice) or 106 (text).
* Lifeline 13 11 14 – 24-hour telephone and online chat crisis support & suicide intervention.
* 1800Respect (1800 7377 328) – 24-hour support for sexual assault & domestic violence victims.
* Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.
* Mental Health Line 1800 011 511 – access to local acute care crisis service.

* Mensline Australia 1300 789 978 – 24-hour support counselling for men.
* Kids Helpline 1800 551 800 – confidential 24-hour counselling for 5 to 25 year olds.
* Beyondblue 1300 224 636 – 24-hour telephone and online chat service with links to local services.
* SANE Australia 1800 187 263 – talk to a mental health professional 10 AM – 10 PM.
* Blue Knot Helpline 1300 657 380 – counselling for victims of child abuse and trauma, and their helpers, 7 days, 9 AM – 5 PM.
* QLife 1800 184 527 – support for LGBTIQA+ community.
* Open Arms 1800 001 046 – 24-hour telephone counselling & crisis support for Veterans & their families.
* Thirrili 1800 805 801 – Critical Response Support Advocate for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people.

COVID-19 in the Media.

To get the latest coverage on COVID-19, please refer to trusted sources such as the ABC.

Media Releases


NORTHERN Rivers and Northern Tablelands residents experiencing domestic violence can be assured police and frontline services are ready to support them and their families as New South Wales continues to respond to the coronavirus threat.


Keep fighting for the people in challenging times

ON MONDAY (March 23, 2020) I marked my first year as State Member for Lismore, one dominated by the unprecedented community challenges of drought, bushfires, floods, and now, the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic.