COVID’s impact curbs some council services

January 24, 2022 BY

The City of Greater Geelong said it has back-up plans to continue its waste collection as normal in the event of future driver shortages.

GEELONG garbos have felt the squeeze of the region’s COVID-19 outbreak, but the city’s other services are continuing as normal.

The City of Greater Geelong has seen impacts to its waste collection services since Christmas, as its garbage truck drivers isolate as confirmed cases or close contacts.

The city missed green waste collections at Corio, Bell Park and Norlane at the end of December and elsewhere last week while it had drivers sidelined with the virus.

It advised residents to leave bins on the kerb until they were collected, and that a report to the council was only necessary if the bins remained full on the Sunday following their usual collection date.

Meanwhile, the council also pleased patience on Tuesday, warning of longer-than-usual wait times for calls to its customer service team due to shortages.

City of Greater Geelong chief executive officer Martin Cutter said the city was working to ensure future staff shortages would have minimal impact on service delivery.

“Like a lot of organisations and businesses, the COVID-19 pandemic is currently having a negative impact on our staffing levels and our ability to deliver services,” Mr Cutter said.

“While we are doing all we can to maintain our high levels of service, we have developed a range of contingencies to address potential staff shortages.

“We will provide the community with as much notice as possible ahead of any changes to service levels.

“We will aim to return any impacted services to normal operation as soon as possible.

“As it has been throughout the pandemic, the health and wellbeing of our community and our employees remains our highest priority,” he said.

The city indicated its other services had avoided negative impacts from COVID cases.

Meanwhile, the Surf Coast Shire said its services were also continuing as normal, but chief executive officer Robyn Seymour said it was preparing for potential staff shortages.

“Council facilities remain open and we are continuing to deliver services in-person, all while observing COVID-safe protocols and precautions,” Ms Seymour said.

“With rising case numbers in the Barwon South West region, the number of people who are required to isolate is also increasing.

“Preparations are underway to ensure that in the event of staff absenteeism, we will do everything we possibly can as we aim to continue delivering our essential services.”