Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Cairns Regional Council continues to follow the advice of Federal and State authorities regarding measures aimed at restricting the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).  Our two key priorities when it comes to day-to-day operations are the safety of our staff and the community, and the continuity of Council services.  As updates are available, they will be listed here. Bookmark this page and check back regularly.

Help stop the spread, protect yourself and keep well

Everyone has a responsibility to stop the spread of coronavirus and 'flatten the curve'. Council urges residents to adhere to Queensland Health coronavirus health advice, which is the leading source of accurate health advice and alerts in Queensland.

The Queensland Health website also has a wealth of information on protecting yourself and others (including the latest social distancing measures and restrictions), keeping well, mental health support, and much more.

Council services, venues and facilities to re-open from 1 June

The following services, venues and facilities are open.

  • All Cairns Libraries branches - borrowing only, external book return chutes open (capped at 20 visitors per venue)
  • Public pools at Babinda, Gordonvale, Smithfield and Woree, and Tobruk Memorial Pool (capped at 20 visitors per venue)
  • Playgrounds - including Muddy's, Fun Ship and Centenary Lakes Nature Play
  • BBQs
  • Skate parks and bump tracks
  • Outdoor gyms, tennis courts and public basketball courts
  • Barlow Park (casual athletics only)
  • Lake Morris recreation area
  • Green Space Our Place program

Refer to our Closures and service changes page for full details including restrictions.

Restrictions on travel, gatherings and activities

The Queensland Government's step-down approach to eased restrictions contains staged plans for easing of restrictions.

From noon on 1 June:

Gatherings of a maximum of 20 people in homes and public spaces are allowed at:

  • Non-contact indoor and outdoor sport
  • Personal training, gyms, health clubs and yoga studios
  • Pools (indoor, outdoor) - (capped at 20 swimmers)
  • Community sports clubs
  • Parks, playgrounds, skate parks and green gyms
  • Libraries
  • Hiking, camping and other recreational activities in national parks (Council-run campgrounds remain closed)
  • Places of worship and religious ceremonies
  • Funerals for up 50 people

Unlimited travel within Queensland, including overnight or multi-night stays, is also allowed (except in restricted or biosecurity areas).

The following businesses can operate with 20 people, provided 4m2 per person can be maintained, and COVID safe plans/checklists are in place:

  • Open homes and auctions
  • Indoor cinemas
  • Outdoor amusement parks, tourism experiences, zoos and arcades.
  • Concert venues, theatres, arenas, auditoriums and stadiums
  • Beauty therapy, nail salons, tanning, tattoo parlours and spas

Restaurants, pubs, clubs, cafes, hotels and casinos (no gaming) can have 20 patrons per room or defined area (indoors and outdoors) for dining in or seated drinks.

Current cases, contact tracing and testing

Cases

The Queensland Government has changed the way it is reporting coronavirus cases to provide more detailed information. It is a mix of information for the Cairns Regional Council area and the broader Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service (CHHHS) area*.

Current cases (CHHHS):

  • 0 active case
  • Total cases to date: 37
  • 0 deaths

Of these cases, there have been 27 confirmed positive cases in the Cairns local government area to date, comprising:

  • 16 acquired overseas
  • 7 locally acquired, known contact
  • 3 locally acquired, no known contact
  • 1 from interstate
  • 0 under investigation

More information

Information on the current coronavirus status is provided by State and Federal health authorities.

*The Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service area includes Cairns, the Tablelands, Tully, Chillagoe, Georgetown and Croydon.

Testing

From 24 April 2020, testing may be done for people who have fever (or history of fever) OR acute respiratory symptoms (cough, sore throat, shortness of breath).

Testing is available at the Cairns Base Hospital Fever Clinic and a drive-through clinic at the Cairns North Community Health Centre. Testing at these sites is by appointment only - phone 4226 4781 to book.

Your doctor is also able to order a test.  If you are unwell and you meet the above criteria, you should contact a doctor immediately. Your doctor will decide if you need to be tested for COVID-19.

COVIDSafe app

The Australian Government is encouraging residents to download the COVIDSafe app to their mobile phone.

The app helps health officials to quickly contact people who may have been exposed to coronavirus (COVID-19). COVIDSafe is available from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store (Android devices).

Downloading the app is voluntary. The Government says 40 per cent of Australians will need to download the app for it to be effective.

For more information on the app, how it works and privacy visit the Australian Government website.

Closures and service changes - Council facilities

In accordance with Stage 1 of the Queensland Government's road map for easing COVID-19 restrictions, a number of Council facilities and venues will re-open from 16 May 2020.

The status listed below will remain in effect until further notice.  Users should adhere to physical distancing measures (1 person per 4 square metres), good hygiene practices, be vigilant of 10-person limits and follow the direction of any signage.

Open facilities

  • Cairns Libraries
  • Public pools at Gordonvale, Smithfield, Tobruk and Woree*
  • Barlow Park (casual athletics only)
  • Playgrounds (including Muddy's, Fun Ship and Centenary Lakes Nature Play), skate parks and bump tracks
  • BBQs - due to large number of sites, this will be a staged roll-out over the weekend 16-17 May
  • Outdoor gyms, tennis courts and public basketball courts
  • Lake Morris recreation area
  • Transfer stations: Open and operating as usual. See transfer station locations and operating hours.
  • Buy Back Shop
  • Animal pound
  • Public toilets

*Babinda pool closed for winter period.

Facility status:

Venue or serviceStatusDetails
Animal pound OPEN Customers are encouraged to pay via contactless credit/debit card where possible.
Active Living (free fitness classes) CANCELLED
  • Suburban Active Living programs - cancelled
  • Esplanade Active Living programs - cancelled
Barlow Park OPEN* * Casual athletics only
Basketball courts (public)OPEN 
BMX tracks OPEN  

Barbecues

OPEN 
Beaches OPEN

Beaches and Council facilities on the foreshore are open for recreational purposes (swimming, exercising, picnics, barbecues etc). Social distancing rules apply; maximum 20 people per gathering.

Botanic Gardens OPEN WITH RESTRICTIONS
  • Gardens remain open; people must adhere to social distancing measures.
  • Centenary Lakes Nature Play space - open
  • Conservatory - open
  • Cafes open for takeaway only
  • Events and tours - cancelled
  • Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre - closed
Buy Back Shop OPEN  
Cairns Esplanade OPEN WITH RESTRICTIONS

All public facilities on the Cairns Esplanade (except for the Lagoon and amenities block) are OPEN.

This includes playgrounds, barbecues, green gym exercise equipment and the Esplanade Activity Precinct (skate park, bouldering park, multi-purpose court and volleyball courts).

Social distancing rules apply: maximum 20 people in a group.

See Muddy's Playground for specific requirements.

  • Lagoon - CLOSED for maintenance until mid-June 2020
Cairns Libraries OPEN WITH RESTRICTIONS
  • Open for borrowing only.
  • 20-person limit applies.
  • Residents are encouraged to reserve a book online and use the self-checkout at the branch.
Cairns Performing Arts Centre CLOSED All events scheduled prior to 31 May 2020 have been cancelled. A full refund will be provided to the original ticket holder. There is no need to contact Ticketlink at this time, ticket holders are asked to be patient.
Council camping grounds OPEN WITH RESTRICTIONS
  • Bramston Beach campground -  OPEN
  • Babinda Rotary Park campground* - OPEN
  • Babinda Boulders campground* - OPEN
  • Greenpatch (Gordonvale) campground* - OPEN

*Capacity capped to ensure social distancing can be maintained

Cemeteries OPEN WITH RESTRICTIONS

Funerals attendance restrictions apply as set by the Queensland Government.

Maximum of 50 people excluding celebrant/clergy and staff.

Social distancing rules of one person per 4mapplies.

Community halls OPEN WITH RESTRICTIONS

Council is accepting hall hire bookings as follows:

  • From 1 June 2020, bookings for non-contact outdoor activities with a maximum of 20 people
  • From 10 July 2020, bookings for up to 100 people, subject to Stage 3 of eased restrictions.
Customer Service Centres VARIED

Spence Street Customer Service Centre - OPEN (8.30am to 4.30pm)

Customer Services Centres at Cairns Libraries branches (Babinda, Earlville, Gordonvale and Smithfield) - CLOSED

Online services:

  • Payment of bills
  • Renewing registrations
  • Payment of fines
  • Reporting a problem
  • Making applications
Events VARIED

Many Council-run and community-run events have been cancelled or postponed until further notice.

See the upcoming events listing for details

Green Gyms (exercise equipment in parks)  OPEN WITH RESTRICTIONS

Gatherings limited to a maximum of 20 people within a group.

Green Space Our Place volunteers program

OPEN  
Lake Morris OPEN  
Markets VARIED
  • Esplanade Markets - CANCELLED
  • Tanks Markets - OPEN with social distancing rules in place
Muddy’s Playground OPEN WITH RESTRICTIONS

Playground (wet and dry) - OPEN

  • capped at 160 people
  • gatherings limited to maximum of 20 people within a group

Cafe - OPEN

Munro Martin Parklands OPEN  
Playgrounds OPEN
  • Gatherings limited to a maximum of 20 people within a group.
  • See Muddy's Playground for specific restrictions
Public drinking water facilities OPEN 
Public toilets OPEN  
Recreation areas: (beaches, parklands and natural areas not within National Parks) OPEN WITH RESTRICTIONS
  • Gatherings limited to a maximum of 20 people within a group.
  • Barbecue facilities - open
  • Toilet facilities - open
Recreation areas within National Parks OPEN WITH RESTRICTIONS

Camping grounds - OPEN with restrictions

Wooroonooran National Park - Behana Gorge, Goldsborough Valley section, Mt Bartle Frere and Josephine Falls - OPEN

Siren Testing POSTPONED

Live testing of the outdoor early warning stations in Redlynch, installed as part of Council’s Copperlode Falls Dam Emergency Action Plan, scheduled for Thursday April 16, has been postponed.

Skate parks OPEN
  • Gatherings limited to a maximum of 20 people within a group.
Swimming pools VARIED
  • Babinda pool - CLOSED for winter
  • Gordonvale pool - OPEN with restrictions
  • Woree pool - OPEN with restrictions
  • Tobruk Memorial Pool - OPEN with restrictions
  • Marlin Coast (Smithfield) pool - OPEN with restrictions
  • Sugarworld Adventure Park - CLOSED
Tanks Arts Centre CLOSED  
Tennis courts (public)OPEN 
Ticketlink BOX OFFICE CLOSED

Services continue via phone 1300 855 835, email and online.

Walking tracks (including Arrow tracks) OPEN WITH RESTRICTIONS

All walking tracks and trails, including the Arrow tracks in Whitfield, are open with restrictions. Social distancing rules of one person per 4m2 applies.

  • Red Arrow is now a one-way circuit (effective 31 March 2020). Entry from western side, behind Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre.

Restrictions on movement

To stop the spread of coronavirus, the Queensland Government has issued a series of Public Health Directions outlining residents' obligations. These include:

  • staying home, going out and moving around Queensland. (Refer to the Movement and Gathering direction for more)
  • business and activities
  • border restrictions including remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

Penalties apply for breaching these directions. You can seek clarification, ask for exemptions, or get answers to your questions from Queensland Health via their online form or by emailing healthdirections@health.qld.gov.au.

Easing of restrictions

The Queensland Government's step-down approach to eased restrictions contains staged plans. Effective noon on 1 June 2020, the following is allowed within the Cairns Regional Council local government area:

Gatherings of a maximum of 20 people are allowed:

  • In homes
  • Non-contact indoor and outdoor sport
  • Personal training, gyms, health clubs and yoga studios
  • Pools (indoor, outdoor)
  • Community sports clubs
  • Parks, playgrounds, skate parks and green gyms
  • Libraries
  • Hiking, camping and other recreational activities in national parks
  • Places of worship and religious ceremonies
  • Weddings
  • Funerals for up 50 people

Unlimited travel, including overnight or multi-night stays, within Queensland (except restricted or biosecurity areas), is also allowed.

The following businesses can operate with 20 people, provided 4m2 per person can be maintained, and where specified COVID-19 safe plans/checklists are in place:

  • Open homes and auctions
  • Indoor cinemas
  • Outdoor amusement parks, tourism experiences, zoos and arcades
  • Concert venues, theatres, arenas, auditoriums and stadiums
  • Beauty therapy, nail salons, tanning, tattoo parlours and spas

Restaurants, pubs, clubs, cafes, hotels and casinos (no gaming) can have 20 patrons per room or defined area (indoors and outdoors) for dining in or seated drinks.

More information

Travel restrictions to remote communities

The Queensland Government has announced a Roadmap to easing restrictions for Queensland's remote communities.

Under Stage 1 residents returning to country may be able to quarantine for 14 days in their community. This is determined by individual councils.

More information on travel restrictions is available on the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnership (DATSIP) website.

If you are a resident of the following communities and require information on returning home please contact your local Council, details below:

Staying home, movement and gatherings

Eased restrictions from 11 May:

People can leave their principal place of residence to attend:

  • community kindergarten, Prep, Year 1, Year 11 or Year 12 of schooling;
  • Years 2 to 10 of schooling if schooling cannot reasonably be provided from home e.g. children of essential workers.

Eased restrictions effective from 10 May:

  • you are allowed to leave your house to visit someone else at their house.  Households can have two visitors from the same or different households, or up to five visitors from the same household, regardless of how many people live there.
  • Travel advice regarding Mother's Day is contained in the Queensland Government's A message to Queenslanders this Mother's Day

Eased restrictions effective from 2 May:

Residents may travel for recreation purposes within a 50km radius of their principal place of residence. People may conduct these activities with members of their immediate household (people who normally live together) or as an individual with one other person.

Activities that will be permitted include:

  • Go for a picnic (as a household or as an individual with friend)
  • Visit a national park
  • Drive a car, ride a motorbike, jet ski, go boating or other vehicle for pleasure
  • Teach someone in your household how to drive
  • Shop for non-essentials as long as you maintain a 1.5 metre distance

Essential goods and services

You are able to leave the house to obtain essential goods and services, which is limited to those goods and services needed for the necessities of life and operation of our society.

  • To obtain essential goods and services
  • Receive medical treatment, health care or social services including employment services, domestic and family violence services, and child protection services
  • Exercise (with one other person, or members of your family)
  • Do work or volunteering that is essential and cannot be done from home (this is any type of work that is not restricted under the latest ‘non-essential business activity and undertaking closure’ direction)
  • Visit another person’s house (visitor limits apply)
  • Visit a terminally ill relative or attend a funeral (funeral attendance limits apply)
  • Assist, care for or support immediate family members
  • Attend Court or tribunal or comply with a Court or tribunal order
  • Attend a childcare facility, school, university, or other educational institution to receive instruction that is not possible to receive at home
  • Assist with an investigation by police or other law enforcement authority
  • All shared custody arrangements of children under 18 years of age, whether informal or court-ordered, can continue as normal. You are allowed to leave the house to take children from one parent’s home to the other parent’s home
  • To avoid illness, injury or the risk of harm
  • To comply with directions of a government agency
  • To donate blood

If you need to go out, maintain a 1.5m distance from other people wherever practical.

People in the following at-risk groups are encouraged to stay home as much as practical for their own protection. It is also strongly discouraged to visit people in these groups.

  • People aged 70 or over
  • People aged 60 or over with a chronic illness
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 with a chronic illness

More information

Penalties

The following fines apply to breaches of home quarantine and social distancing breaches.

If a person does not comply with quarantine directions, penalties of up to $13,345 for individuals and $66,672.50 for corporations may apply.

Police can also issue on the spot fines of $1334.50 for individuals and $6,672.50 for corporations which fail to abide by the health directions.

Home Medicines Service

The Home Medicines Service is a temporary program for people in home isolation and for vulnerable patient groups who wish to limit their potential exposure to novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the community. It provides home delivery of medicines from any pharmacy approved to dispense and supply Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS) medicines.

You can order other items to be delivered to you from the pharmacy, if it is part of the same order.  This includes over-the-counter painkillers, tissues and hand sanitizers - but these must be combined in a single delivery with one or more PBS/RPBS medicines.

The Home Medicines Service provides for one, no-cost delivery per month.  If you need more than one delivery per month, your pharmacy may charge a fee.

  • Speak directly to your pharmacist about ordering your medicines, delivery times, urgent medicine needs and any other questions you have about the Home Medicines Service.
  • Visit the Pharmacy Programs Administrator website for more on the Home Medicines Service including eligibility and consent.

Queensland border closure

To slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the Queensland Government has tightened restricted entry into Queensland.

Only Queensland residents and those considered an ‘exempt person’ are allowed to cross the border by air, sea, rail or road.

Exempt persons include:

  • National/state security
  • Essential health services
  • Emergency services
  • Transport of goods or freight by land, sea or air, including food
  • Critical maintenance/repair to critical infrastructure in Queensland
  • Construction, mining/energy/agribusinesses (and see below for specific requirements for FIFO workers in these sectors)
  • Federal, state or local government workers or contractors who are required to enter to Queensland to work

Exempt persons must apply for a Queensland Border Pass but do not need to self quarantine, unless they have been to a designated hot spot.

Residents moving permanently to Queensland are also exempt, but must self-quarantine for 14 days.

Residents who have been overseas in the past 14 days must self-quarantine.

Compassionate exemptions

Queensland also allows a general compassionate grounds exemption, as well as specific exemptions for those living outside of Queensland who:

  • Are carers/relatives of dependant individuals in Queensland
  • Need to obtain essential medical treatment including visiting terminally ill relatives in Queensland
  • Are interstate boarding school students where school is closed
  • Are required to comply with the law to travel to Queensland (for example, Family Court, parole/bail conditions etc.)

Hot spots

Residents and exempt persons need to self-quarantine for 14 days if they have been to a designated hot spot unless they were in the hot spot for:

  • work
  • obtain essential medical treatment
  • obtain life-preserving services
  • visit a dying relative
  • attend a funeral
  • attend court or comply with a court order
  • assist in a law enforcement investigation
  • comply with child custody or access arrangements
  • to escape a risk of domestic and family violence or harm

The following New South Wales Local Government Ares have been declared hot spots:

  • Blacktown
  • Cantebury-Bankstown
  • Central Coast
  • Cumberland
  • Inner West
  • Ku-ring-gai
  • Northern Beaches
  • Randwick
  • Ryde
  • Sutherland Shire
  • Sydney
  • Waverley
  • Woolahra

FIFO workers

Restrictions preventing interstate FIFO workers (except for certain positions in certain resource industries) apply from 11.59pm Saturday 4 April 2020, see Read more on the Queensland Government website below.

Self isolation

If you have been overseas in the past 14 days and feel unwell, contact your doctor immediately.

Self-isolation means you must stay at home for 14 days. You must self-isolate if you:

  • have coronavirus
  • have been in close contact with someone who has coronavirus
  • arrived in Australia after midnight on 15 March 2020.

Self isolation means staying at home or in your hotel room for 14 days. This is to prevent the possible spread of the virus to other people.  This means you:

  • Do not leave your home/hotel unless it is an emergency
  • Do not go to public places such as work or shopping centres
  • Do not let visitors in - only people who usually live with you should be in your home.

If you are well, there is no need to wear surgical masks inside.

If you are isolating at home, ask others who are not in isolation to get food and necessities for you.

If you are in a hotel you must avoid contact with other guests or staff.

If you need assistance, such as delivery of food and essential items, while in self isolation you can call the Community Recovery Hotline 1800 173 349 operated by the Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors.  You may also be eligible to access the Home Medicines Service.

Financial and community assistance

Council support

To support Cairns residents and businesses, Council has:

  • Extended the due date for half-year rates payments to 27 May 2020
  • Extended the due date for water usage fees for three months
  • Endorsed the Financial Hardship Policy to provide rates and charges assistance (by way of extended payments plans and interest waivers) to those ratepayers suffering financial hardship as a result of COVID-19.  To request assistance, complete the Rates hardship relief online form and our Revenue Team will contact you.

Further Council assistance will be discussed as part of budget discussions once the new Council is sworn in.

Australian Government support

The Australian Government has announced a range of financial supports for residents.

Working from home tax deductions

The Australian Taxation Office has announced changes to rules around claiming expenses associated with working from home during Covid-19.

Queensland Government support

Renting

The Queensland Government has announced a range of support for renters and landlords including a freeze on evictions and a one-off rental grant for those who have been financially impacted by coronavirus and have no other financial assistance.

The Residential Rental Hub has information for renters, property owners, agents and property managers.

Utilities rebate

The Queensland Government's economic relief package will support Queenslanders’ health, jobs and businesses. For households, the package includes $200 rebate for all Queensland households to offset the cost of water and electricity bills. The rebate will be automatically applied through household electricity bills in the coming months.

For details on financial assistance for Queensland businesses, refer to the Business Queensland portal.

Community sport

The Queensland Government's Return to Play program offers assistance to community sport, recreation and fitness organisations with a range of funding and grants.

Applications for the COVID SAFE Active Clubs Kickstart grant open on March 25. Clubs can apply for $2000 to go toward hygiene supplies, equipment and operational costs for COVID Safe clubs to return to sport.

Community support for elderly, disabled and self-isolating

Food deliveries

The following local service organisations are providing assistance to elderly residents during the coronavirus crisis. For more information, phone the Cairns Local Coronavirus Hotline on 1300 396 102, between 8am and 5pm, seven days a week.

Note: each service agency sets their own eligibility criteria. Services offered are subject to resource availability.

Salvation Army

  • food deliveries to elderly residents and self-isolating only
  • contact the Salvos by phone 1800 173 379 or 4051 2454, or via email: cairns.corps@salvationarmy.org.au

St Vincent de Paul

  • food deliveries to elderly residents
  • contact Vinnies directly by phone 4032 3201

Meals on Wheels

  • food deliveries on a fee-for-service basis
  • operating at Cairns (4051 1300 ) and Marlin Coast (4055 6016) centres
  • Marlin Coast only operate Monday, Wednesday and Friday

Anglicare

  • food deliveries to elderly residents and self-isolating only
  • Contact Anglicare by phone 0436 608 697

Community Recovery Hotline (Queensland Government)

If you have no other means of getting food or essential items, call the Community Recovery Hotline on 1800 173 349.  The hotline has been activated by the Queensland Government to assist people who have been advised to quarantine at home by a medical professional, Queensland Health or through government direction and have no other mechanisms for support. Government staff will work with partner organisations to arrange non-contact delivery of essential food and medication to people in quarantine with no other means of support.

Priority supermarket home deliveries

Woolworths, Coles and IGA are providing priority assistance for eligible customers in Cairns.

In-store trading hours may be impacted in order to fill priority online orders. Woolworths Mount Sheridan and Earlville stores have reduced in-store trading hours to 9am to 6pm daily, with no community shopping hour. Contact your local supermarket for details.

  • Woolworths Priority Assistance delivery - register online at :www.woolworths.com.au/priorityassistance or call 1800 000 610.
  • IGA Priority Shop home delivery - register online at https://www.iga.com.au/priority-shop/ or phone 1800 018 384.
  • Coles Online Priority Service - currently available by invitation only to the elderly and those at risk with pre-existing health and medical conditions.  View eligibility criteria and process details at https://www.coles.com.au/customernotice/onlinepriorityservice.  If you are not eligible for this service, Coles continues to provide the Community Hour on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 7am to 8am,  exclusively for elderly customers and others in need of assistance. You will need to present a government-issued identification card.

Business information and support

Help is available from all three levels of government for businesses, employers and employees affected by coronavirus. This information is updated regularly.

Beware of business scams

Unfortunately, scammers are taking advantage of the spread of coronavirus to exploit and play on the fears of consumers and businesses across Australia. Scams include impersonating government authorities and legitimate traders, using fake emails or text messages to try and obtain personal data, and investment scams.

  • Visit the Scamwatch website for more information on coronavirus scams and tips on how to protect your business online.

Restrictions on non-essential services

As part of the Australian Government's social distancing measures, a wide range of non-essential business activities are now restricted.

Australian Government support

The Australian Government's coronavirus information and support web page is updated regularly with announcements and assistance package information. The Government's business contact centre is staffed from 7am until 11pm: 13 28 46

The Australian Treasury is leading the economic response to the coronavirus

Assistance available from the Federal Government for businesses includes:

Queensland Government support and information

The Queensland Government is updating information about assistance packages through its Business Queensland pages. You will find information here about the following:

Council support

Council has announced a series of measures to assist businesses and generate employment in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.Council has granted due date extensions on rates and water bills for all residents and businesses, and these do not require any application. Key aspects of the Council's assistance and relief packages include:

  • three-month extension on a range of business-related fees and charges
  • waiving of all outdoor dining fees for three months (April to June)
  • water usage bill due dates (for businesses and residents) extended for three months
  • pumping $2.5 million into the Cairns community in the next three months by bringing forward maintenance works
  • fast-tracking of projects in the city:
    • The building of a rock wall minimise erosion on the Esplanade
    • Renewal of the plaza area between the Lagoon and the Esplanade
    • Renewal of footpaths on Abbott, Grafton and McLeod streets
    • Replacement of commercial water metres and water main
    • Road rehabilitation and asphalt overlays
  • waiving of rental payments for lessees of Council owned and/or managed facilities negatively impacted by the coronavirus.

Links for job seekers

  • The Federal Government has created a Jobs Hub to help people find advertised vacancies.
  • Queensland Government's Jobs Finder website has been set up to connect qualified recruitment agencies and Queensland people whose employment has been affected by Covid-19.
  • Queensland Health is calling for expressions of interest from health professionals and administrators to work during its response to Covid-19.
  • Harvesting work may be available in Far North Queensland. Check here for availability.

Training webinars for small business

TAFE North are offering free interactive workshops (online webinars) designed for small businesses in Far North and North Queensland who are currently or may be impacted by Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The Australian Government also presents free webinars to help business owners and managers minimize their risks and manage their business through the COVID-19 disruption.

Innovate Queensland is offering workshops about pivoting business models and virtual business platforms for Covid-19.

Other resources for businesses

  • Dive centres in Cairns seeking advice on returning to operations should email: training-sales@padi.com.au or the relevant regional manager.
  • As more people begin working from home, NBN Co has made changes to data allowances, waived additional wholesale capacity charges and created a blog, FAQs and tips to support people transitioning out of the office.
  • The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland has compiled resources to support its members including access to free software and tools to move business online.
  • Cairns Regional Council has a Takeaway and deliveries fact sheet ( PDF, 0.66 MB ) with handy tips to help Fixed Food Business licence holders minimise the risks should they choose to offer takeaway and/or delivery.
  • Restaurant and Catering Australia also has information sheets and resources, including fact sheets about takeaway and pre-packaged meals.
  • Safe Work Australia has information and resources about health and safety in the workplace and Covid-19, including working from home, supporting mental health, and information for small businesses about what to do if an employee contracts coronavirus.

How you can help

Many of us want to support our local community in this difficult time.

We will be updating this page regularly with information from local groups and agencies on how you can best support them and some ideas for bringing a smile to someone's face.

Donate

Beware of scams

Unfortunately, scammers are taking advantage of the spread of coronavirus to exploit and play on the fears of consumers across Australia. Scams include impersonating government authorities and legitimate charities, and using fake emails or text messages to try and obtain personal data.

  • If you are planning to donate, do your research. If you are donating to crowdfunding requests, check the terms and conditions of funding platforms and ensure you are dealing with official organisations.
  • If you are donating to an established charity or not-for-profit organisation, ensure it is registered and that you are on its official website by searching the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Charity Register.
  • Visit the Scamwatch website for more information on coronavirus scams and tips on how to protect yourself online.
  • Visit the Australian Government's Stay Smart Online website for information on and examples of Covid-19 malicious cyber scams and phishing email attacks.

Donate blood

Red Cross Lifeblood is urging people to donate vital blood and plasma. Travel and venue restrictions do not prevent people from giving blood. Blood donor centres remain open and are strictly regulated healthcare spaces.

It is important to note there is no evidence that coronavirus is transmissible by blood transfusion, and Lifeblood's strict screening process ensures people who are unwell do not donate blood.

GIVIT

GIVIT is a not-for-profit organisation that partners with the Queensland Government to coordinate donations of money and goods.

GIVIT is calling for cash donations which will be used to support the work of local Cairns charities. GIVIT has a buy local policy, so your donation will be spent in Cairns, further supporting our community.

  • To donate, visit the GIVIT Covid19 Appeal website for payment options.
  • To make sure your contribution is spent in Cairns, please specify this when making your donation. If you want to give generally to the appeal

Lifeline

The Lifeline warehouse is open and accepting donations of goods.

  • 188 Aumuller Street ( next to the Bungalow Hotel), Monday to Friday 8am to 4pm. .

The Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul are not taking any further donated goods. Please do not leave donations at their offices or bin locations.

Home School Savvy (Centacare)

Home School Savvy is calling for donations of any unwanted furniture or equipment such as desks, chairs, laptops, desk top computers, tablets - anything that can be refurbished, reconditioned, cleaned and re-distributed to those who need.

For schools, businesses or people who wish to donate but are not sure how to do so during the current circumstances Home School Savvy will arrange collection, cleaning and delivery to those in need.

You can also contact Home School Savvy if you are needing assistance.

Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation

The Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation is seeking to raise $2.4 million to support 7 hospital across the region.

Funds will be used for baby ventilators, humidifiers, infusion pumps, syringe drivers, ultrasounds, defibrillators, vital signs monitors, high flow oxygen machines and 100 mattresses.

You can donate online or by calling  4226 6327.

Buy local

With businesses struggling in the wake of coronavirus it's more important than ever to spend locally. The Cairns Chamber of Commerce, supported by Cairns Regional Council, is encouraging residents and businesses to 'Keep in in Cairns' by make a conscious effort to buy local, whether in person or online.

If all of us make just one change to support local suppliers and service providers, we can keep local people in jobs and business.

  • Follow Keep It In Cairns on Facebook for information and offers from local businesses.

Connect with your community

It's easy to feel disconnected from your friends, neighbours and community during self-isolation and social distancing. But people, all over the world, are finding ways to stay in touch. We'll be updating this section with ways you can keep connected in Cairns.

Offering help to elderly or isolated neighbours

Queensland Health has a printable card you can place in the letterbox of those around you eg an elderly neighbour or someone who is self-quarantining.  If they need help - groceries, medical or urgent supplies, posting or collecting mail, or even a phone call - they can reach out to you on the number you provide. You can then leave items on their doorstep to avoid direct contact.

Care Army

The Queensland Government is calling on volunteers for the Care Army.  The Care Army is about bringing Queenslanders together to lend a hand to seniors and people most at-risk who may not have friends, family or neighbours who are able to support them durign the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Find out more and register at the Care Army web page or contact the Community Recovery Hotline on 1800 173 349.  Background checks will be undertaken as per Volunteering Qld guidelines

Economic response and recovery

A pathway to recovery from COVID-19

In close collaboration with the Cairns COVID-19 Economic Response and Recovery Sub-Committee, Council has developed the Cairns Pathway to Recovery from COVID-19.  The document summarises the economic impacts of COVID-19 and sets out a four phase plan for economic recovery.

You can download the document here ( PDF, 2.09 MB ) or by clicking on the cover image above.

Economic impact of COVID-19 on Cairns

Council has commissioned independent economic advisory firm, .id Consulting Pty Ltd, to analyse the anticipated impacts of COVID-19 on the Cairns economy.

Download and read a copy of the report ( PDF, 1.52 MB ).

Key findings include:

  • Pre COVID-19, the Cairns economy was strong with Gross Regional Product (GRP) growth above Queensland and Australian averages, and unemployment well below both the state and national levels.
  • Cairns will be one of the most severely affected regions in Australia because its economy is heavily reliant on visitors, tourism and other export sectors.
  • GRP for the June 2020 quarter is expected to drop by $386M (16%) with unemployment forecast to exceed 12%, significantly higher than both the state and national levels.
  • The re-establishment of domestic aviation connectivity and capacity into Cairns is critically important, coupled with investment in destination marketing to fill that capacity. This is what will be required to return the city’s service population to ‘pre-COVID’ levels and get the local economy moving again.

Cairns business survival initiatives identified

Business leaders in Cairns have developed a suite of 10 key initiatives for consideration by Government (Federal, State and Local) in response to the unfolding economic effects from the spread of COVID-19.

The initiatives have been developed by the Economic Response and Recovery Sub-Committee (ERRSC), a group chaired by Cairns Regional Council's Chief Executive Officer, and comprising representatives of business and peak bodies, including Advance Cairns, Tourism Tropical North Queensland, the Cairns Chamber of Commerce, Cairns Airport, Ports North and others.

The purpose of the ERRSC is to ensure the unique situation, needs and issues of industry and businesses in Cairns are captured and communicated to all levels of Government throughout the crisis.

The ERRSC has also established processes to engage with business and industry more broadly.

The immediate focus of the ERRSC has been to identify the key initiatives required to support business survival – making sure that businesses who have been adversely impacted by travel bans, social distancing and other measures are able to survive the crisis and be in a position to recommence/re-escalate operations once it has passed.

The ERRSC reports regularly to the Cairns Local Leadership Committee (LLC), which is made up of elected representatives: Federal Member for Leichhardt, the Hon Warren Entsch; State Member for Cairns, Michael Healy; and Cairns Mayor Cr Bob Manning.

10 key business survival initiatives

The ERRSC report outlining the recommended 10 key Business Survival Initiatives ( PDF, 0.64 MB ) was presented to this local leadership group on Friday 27 March 2020 and has been distributed through relevant channels of the three levels of Government for consideration. Pleasingly, action has already been taken on a number of the initiatives identified.Council is maintaining and regularly updating a Status Update Report   ( PDF, 0.55 MB )which tracks action that has been taken on each of the 10 key Business Survival Initiatives.

Preliminary report on stimulus initiatives

The ERRSC has also prepared a Preliminary Report on Stimulus Initiatives ( PDF, 0.18 MB ) into the recommended projects, policy and programs needed to support economic recovery and job creation in the Cairns region over the short to medium term and in response to the impacts of COVID-19.  This report has been provided to the LLC and will also be distributed through other relevant channels to ensure it is given due consideration by all levels of Government.

The ERRSC welcomes suggestions, ideas and input which can be submitted direct to Council’s Economic Development Team at: economicdevelopment@cairns.qld.gov.au

Official information sources

EVENTS, NEWS & REMINDERS STRAIGHT TO YOUR DEVICE
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EVENTS, NEWS & REMINDERS STRAIGHT TO YOUR DEVICE
my cairns DOWNLOAD IT FREE
Last updated: 01 June 2020