Coronavirus - Information for the Community

Colac Otway Shire UPDATES

The Victorian Government has announced the gradual easing of restrictions throughout the state from 11.59pm Sunday 31 May 2020.

For information and advice about restriction levels in place, and what you can do from 1 June visit the Department of Health and Human Services website:

You can also find out information about restrictions currently in place, up to 31 May:

Colac Otway Shire Council - current operations during COVID

Council-operations-update-as-at-28-May-2020.pdf(PDF, 136KB)

Protecting our community while providing services is Colac Otway’s priority.

Colac Otway Shire Council Customer Service Centres at Colac and Apollo Bay are temporarily closed to the public until further notice, to maintain the health and wellbeing of our staff and customers.

Council staff will continue to assist you via the phone, email or via our website and online services.

However, if residents have urgent matters which can only be dealt with in person, they can contact our Customer Service Team and arrange an appointment at either Colac or Apollo Bay.


Maternal and Child Health Services

The open session on Tuesday mornings and the first time parents group remain on-hold to ensure that the Maternal and Child Health Centre continues to comply with all aspects of physical distancing and hygiene. New parent’s groups are currently being conducted via Zoom and Maternal and Child Health staff are also available for appointments if parents have a concern about their child.

Parents who have no immediate concerns for their child may prefer to have a telephone consult with a nurse rather than visiting the centre, parents can call 5232 9570 to arrange a phone appointment. Click the link for more information on Council's Maternal and Child Health Services.  


Apollo Bay Boat Ramp

The Apollo Bay boat ramp will re-open following new directions from the State Government on the easing of restrictions around sport and exercise at 11.59pm on Tuesday 12 May which advise recreational boating is now permissible. Physical distancing and mass gathering rules apply at all times – including at the boat ramp and on your boat. For more information, please visit the Department of Health and Human Services website at


Rates Assistance

Council has reviewed its normal procedures regarding rates collection. For more information on support available, please visit Council's Rates page on this website.

For specific information about Council's venues and facilities choose from the list below for more information.


Information from Colac Area Health 

In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic Colac Area Health are continuing to provide Family Services support services via phone, video and face to face if needed.

Support Services include:

Supporting Families who are seeking support with children including wellbeing and behaviour, parenting, family violence, financial difficulties, mental health, specialist referral support, drug and alcohol support, and disability support where not eligible for NDIS and or any other vulnerable areas.

Colac Area Health are able to provide face to face appointments and home visits should they be deemed the utmost priority. This will be at the discretion of our Management in conjunction with the families. 

The central referral process to the Colac Area Health Family Services Program is through the Colac Access Point (Orange Door) and the contact number is: 03 5232 5500.

Housing and Rental Information


Information on schools in Colac Otway

For information issued by the office of Premier Daniel Andrews, please click the following link:

Daily update from the DHHS 

Latest news and resources related to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from the Department of Health and Human Services. 


Coronavirus - Information for Businesses

COVID-19 - impact on business 

Council’s Economic Development and Tourism team is reaching out to our local business community via phone, email and online survey to better understand the impact COVID-19 is having on business operations and ways Council can help.

Business owners can complete an online survey at any time by visiting the following link: Colac Otway COVID-19 Local Business Survey. Within the survey, you can sign up to receive regular communications from Council on the latest COVID-19 information and funding support, or you can request a call back from the Economic Development and Tourism team.

Rates Assistance

Council is anticipating that businesses and households will be worried about their potential inability to pay their rates because of reduced business income or reduced or lost employment, as a result of the COVID-19 situation. Ratepayers who are unable to make payments will not be charged interest (we will review this situation before June 30) and will not be referred to debt collection.

Council has reviewed its normal procedures regarding rates collection. For more information on support available, please visit Council's Rates page on this website. 

Colac Otway Shire Council is urging community members experiencing difficulties to seek financial assistance under relevant Federal and State government assistance (

Cafes and Restaurants 

From June 1, restaurants, cafes and other hospitality businesses can resume dine-in service with some restrictions. 

New COVID19 Restrictions for Restaurants and Cafes - June 1 - Fact Sheet (PDF, 178KB)


Download the fact sheet for answers to frequently asked questions to assist you with providing takeaway from your food premises, during the Coronavirus pandemic.

2020-COS-Food-Protection-TAKEAWAY.pdf(PDF, 152KB).

Personal Services (beauty therapists, tattooists, tanning salons, nail salons, spa and massage services)

From June 1, some businesses providing personal care services can reopen. 

New COVID19 Restrictions for Personal Service Business - June 1 - Fact Sheet(PDF, 170KB)

Australian Government support available

JobKeeper Payment

Under the JobKeeper Payment, businesses impacted by the coronavirus will be able to access a subsidy from the government to continue paying their employees. Affected employers will be able to claim a fortnightly payment of $1,500 per eligible employee from 30 March 2020, for a maximum period of six months.
Business with a turnover of less than $1 billion are eligible if their turnover has reduced by more than 30 per cent compared to a year ago. Business with a turnover of $1 billion or more turnover must have reduced by more than 50 per cent.
For full information and eligibility criteria, please follow the link below:
Boosting Cashflow for Employers
This measure provides temporary cash flow support to small and medium enterprises and Not for Profits, that have an aggregated turnover of <$50 million, who currently employ staff in Australia. A minimum payment of $20,000 is available, up to a maximum of $100,000.
The cash flow boost is tax free and is automatically calculated by the Australia Taxation office (ATO).
The first payment will be delivered by the ATO automatically as a credit in the activity statement system from 28 April 2020, upon a business lodging upcoming activity statements. An additional payment will be made during the July-October 2020 period, therefore the maximum available from this program is capped at $100,000 (a total of two payments).
Businesses do not need to apply for this assistance. The ATO will deliver the payment automatically as a credit to the business upon the lodgement of activity statements.  
SME Guarantee Scheme
Under this scheme, the Australian Government will provide a guarantee of 50% to small and medium eterprise lenders to support new short-term unsecured loans to SMEs. The scheme will guarantee up to $40 billion of new lending.
SMEs with a turnover of up to $50 million will be eligible to receive these loans.
The Federal Government will provide eligible lenders with a guarantee for loans with the following terms:

  • Maximum total size of loans of $250,000 per borrower.
  • The loans will be up to three years, with an initial six month repayment holiday.
  • The loans will be in the form of unsecured finance, without the need for asset securitisation.

Loans will be subject to lenders’ credit assessment processes, with the expectation that lenders look through the cycle to sensibly take into account the current uncertainty.
ATO Administrative Relief
The ATO will provide administrative relief for certain tax obligations for taxpayers affected by the coronavirus outbreak, on a case-by-case basis.
All taxpayers affected by the coronavirus outbreak can contact the ATO for assistance.
You can contact the ATO on 1800 806 218 or visit the ATO website for further information.
Assistance to help pay wages of apprentices or trainees
Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of apprentices or trainee wages during the nine months from 1 Jan-30 Sep 2020. Employers will be reimbursed up to a maximum of $21,000 per eligible apprentice/trainee ($7K per quarter).
Support is also available through the National Apprentice Employment Network which is responsible for coordinating the re-employment of displaced apprentices/trainees.
The apprentice/trainee must have been in training with the business as at 1 March 2020. Employers will also need to undergo an eligibility assessment by an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network provider.
Help for casual employees
If you employ casual employees and they can’t work due to becoming sick or having to self-isolate, or their income has become compromised due to being made redundant, they may be eligible for income support payments.
The Australian Government is making it quicker to access payments by waiving the usual waiting periods in certain circumstances. Information on income support is available on the Services Australia website.

Coronavirus Business Liaison Unit

This specialist unit has been set up within the Australian Government’s Treasury Department to engage with peak business and industry groups on systemic issues and provide regular updates to government on crucial issues.
If you need to pass on information to this unit, it is important to be in contact with your relevant industry peak body who will then be able to directly provide feedback to the liaison unit.
Temporary relief for financially distressed businesses
The Australian Government is temporarily increasing the threshold at which creditors can issue a statutory demand on a company. The ATO will tailor solutions for owners or directors of businesses that are currently struggling due to the Coronavirus.
Instant Asset write-off
The instant asset write-off threshold has been increased from $30,000 to $150,000 and expanding access to include businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million) until 30 June 2020.
Backing Business Investment
The Australian Government is introducing a time limited 15 month investment incentive (through to 30 June 2021) to support business investment and economic growth over the short term, by accelerating depreciation deductions. Businesses with a turnover of less than $500 million will be able to deduct 50 per cent of the cost of an eligible asset on installation, with existing depreciation rules applying to the balance of the asset’s cost.
Assistance for affected regions, communities and industries
$1 billion has been set aside to support particular regions most significantly affected by the coronavirus outbreak. These funds will be available in the coming months and is aimed at the following sectors; tourism, agriculture and education.
Funding will be provided through existing or newly established programs.

Victorian Government support available

Business Support Fund

The BSF is a $500 million package to support small businesses that employ staff and are subject to closure, or highly impacted by the shutdown restrictions, announced by the Victorian Government as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Businesses will be required to attest to their eligibility and provide supporting documentation (including BAS statements) through the application process.
Businesses are eligible if they meet all these criteria:
•             Employ staff
•             Have been subject to closure or are highly impacted by shutdown restrictions announced by the Victorian Government to-date. For more information on affected sectors click HERE.
•             Have a turnover of more than $75,000
•             Have payroll of less than $650,000
Dedicated Business Hotline: 13 22 15
Payroll tax refunds for the 2019/20 financial year and relief for 2020/21
The Victorian Government will provide full payroll tax refunds to SMEs with payroll <$3 million. Payments will start flowing within the fortnight.
This support is a refund, not a loan.
These same businesses will also be able to defer any payroll tax for the first three months of the 2020/21 financial year until 1 January 2020.
Details on this package will become available over the next few days.
Commercial tenants in government buildings
These tenants can apply for rent relief and 2020 land tax payments will be deferred to eligible small businesses.
Liquor licensing
The Victorian Government will waive liquor licensing fees for 2020 for affected venues and small businesses. Those businesses which have already made payments will be refunded.
Working for Victoria Fund
$500 million has been allocated to establish the Working for Victoria Fund. The Victorian Government will work in consultation with the Victorian Council of Social Services and Victorian Trades Hall Council to assist workers who have lost their jobs to find new opportunities.
Opportunities will include cleaning public infrastructure or delivering food, providing vital contributions to the State’s response to the pandemic. Further opportunities will be made available in a number of different fields and capacities. The government will also facilitate job matching to help Victorians find short-term or casual roles.
If you have had to make the decision to reduce jobs at your operation, you’re encouraged to provide your displaced workers with this information to support their job prospects.
Jobs Victoria – Workers in Transition
This support provides information, tools and resources to assist both employers and employees through the retrenchment process and into new opportunities. This existing program will work closely with the Working for Victoria Fund.

A list of business resources is available for business owners and their staff. 

Business Victoria

The Business Victoria website has advice, updates and support to help workplaces plan and respond to coronavirus Covid-19. Phone the Business Victoria Hotline to help you with coronavirus questions 13 2215.

Australian Government Business has information on financial assistance, eligibility and timing for the new government support for Australian businesses. 

Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI) and Colac & District Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Business and workplace information, including fact sheets and key contacts. 

Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism

Victoria Tourism Industry Council


Information on the coronavirus

Ten ways to reduce your risk of coronavirus_0.jpg For the latest information from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) on the novel coronavirus please visit their website

The Department of Health and Human Services has confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Victoria. It is important to remain aware of the signs and symptoms and be vigilant to ensure that the virus does not spread. Practicing good hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene will greatly assist in preventing and spreading of the disease.

Please read the following information, based on information provided by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Australian Government Department of Health.

What is the current situation in Australia?

Please refer to the Australian Government Department of Health for regular updates on the current situation in Australia.

For up to date travel advice please visit the Smart Traveller website

What are the symptoms of the novel coronavirus?

Many people who contract COVID–19 will suffer only mild symptoms. However early indications are that the elderly and people with pre-existing medical conditions are more at risk of experiencing severe symptoms. 

The most common symptoms reported include:

  • Fever
  • Breathing difficulties such as breathlessness
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue or tiredness

What can I do to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus?

The following 10 steps are simple preventative measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Wash hands often with soap and running water, for at least 20 seconds. Dry with paper towel or hand dryer.
  • Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow.
  • Isolate yourself at home if you feel sick. If you take medication ensure you have adequate supplies.
  • Phone your GP first if you need medical attention. They will tell you what to do.
  • Continue healthy habits: exercise, drink water, get plenty of sleep, and now is the time to quit smoking. Call the Quitline 137 848.
  • Don't wear a face mask if you are well.
  • Buy an alcohol-based hand sanitiser with over 60 per cent alcohol.
  • Get the flu shot (available April).
  • Shaking hands is optional!

Is it safe to visit public places?

The situation may evolve so it's wise to keep updated via advice from DHHS

Should I wear a face mask?

The DHHS does not currently recommend face masks for use by members of the public in Victoria for the prevention of infections like novel coronavirus.

What should I do if I suspect I have the novel coronavirus?

This virus can cause an infection in people, including a severe respiratory illness. Symptoms include fever with a cough, sore throat or shortness of breath. Cases of this coronavirus have now been reported in some other Chinese provinces and several other countries.

Call the Department of Health and Human Service’s dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398 if you develop these symptoms. This hotline is serviced by Nurse-on-Call.

Please keep Triple Zero (000) for emergencies only.