Bulletin 6 September 2021 – ACWA Members Advice and Update QLD/ACT/NSW/VIC
Queensland – Urban Utilities Water and Sewerage Price Increase Update
Members operating a car wash in Brisbane, Ipswich, Lockyer Valley, Scenic Rim or Somerset council areas are set to see major changes to how they will be charged for water and sewerage services. Notably, the proposed changes will have a massive impact on their water services charges.
We encourage members likely to be impacted to stay informed and check out the details on the Urban Utilities website https://urbanutilities.com.au/business/accounts-and-billing/prices-and-charges-2021-2022
ACWA has contacted members in South East Queensland about the Simpler Pricing Tariff Reform set to be introduced by Urban Utilities on several occasions. Thank you to those members who took the time to provide copies of their water accounts from Urban Utilities.
We can now inform members that our working party (including Richard Holloway, Neil Fox, Doug Cross and Richard Brown) has been engaged with Urban Utilities on your behalf.
We believe we are on the verge of achieving a better outcome for car wash operators in SEQ, and we are looking forward to making another announcement in the days ahead.
Australian Capital Territory – COVID Including Changes to Business Conditions
The lockdown in the ACT has been extended to 11.59 pm on 17 September 2021.
Some amendments have been made to the businesses that are permitted to operate during the lockdown. The most recent changes are highlighted in the table found here https://www.covid19.act.gov.au/act-status-and-response/lockdown. Members may be interested in looking at the recent changes to regulations surrounding commercial cleaning, click and collect, and outdoor services.
There have also been recent additions to the ACT Government’s COVID website in the Busines Q&A section here https://www.covid19.act.gov.au/business/business-faqs. It states the following “Can mobile car cleaning services recommence? Yes, mobile car cleaning is allowed, but no contact should occur between the owner and cleaner”.
Whilst ACWA cannot provide legal advice, some of the recent changes may offer options to car wash operators during the ACT lockdown. If unsure, please seek legal advice.
There are also business grant opportunities in the ACT. They can be found here https://www.act.gov.au/business/business-support/covid-19-economic-support-for-business. And for workers adversely affected by the ACT lockdown, they should also consider the COVID-19 Disaster Payment https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/covid-19-disaster-payment. It may be worthwhile for members to go through the application process and determine if your circumstances qualify you for payment.
New South Wales – COVID Vaccinations and Worker’s Travel Regulations
Some time ago, ACWA wrote to and contacted several NSW Government Departments and Ministers to have commercial car washing specified on the list of essential businesses during lockdown. We will keep members apprised of developments.
In more recent COVID developments… Yesterday, the Minister for Health and Medical Research extended the timeframe for mandated vaccination of workers in an area of concern.
Initially required by 30 August and then extended to 6 September, the vaccination requirements have been further extended to 19 September 2021.
To continue to attend work, workers must now have their first vaccination by the end of Sunday, 19 September 2021, and the vaccination must be booked before 9 September 2021. From 9 September 2021, relevant workers who have not been vaccinated must carry evidence of their booking. The new vaccination requirements apply to:
- Authorised workers who live in an area of concern and leave their area of concern to travel to work; and
- Early education and care and disability support workers who live or work in an area of concern.
Also, note that from 12:01 am on 28 August 2021, people in NSW are required to register their travel within NSW under the following circumstances:
- Travelling for work if they live in an LGA of concern (applies to authorised workers at least 16 years of age who are required to leave their LGA for work)
- Travelling into an LGA of concern for work (applies to authorised workers at least 16 years of age who are required to enter an LGA of concern for work)
- From a non-area of concern and you need to travel more than 50km outside of Greater Sydney for work, and you cannot work from home
If you believe you or your workers fall into this category, you should check eligibility and requirements here https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/transaction/register-your-travel-within-nsw
Victoria – Lockdown Extensions
The lockdown of Victorians is extended to 11.59 pm on 23 September 2021. The date outlined is based on an expectation that 70 per cent of eligible Victorians will become vaccinated at that time.
Note, there have been indications that restrictions will ease in regional Victoria as soon as this week.
ACWA has received reports of the Government’s COVID Compliance Team attending sites, and we understand at least one of these sites has been fined for operating outside regulations.
ACWA has been actively following up on Grant Applications. Regrettably, the roll-out has been slower than first anticipated. Members who have applied and are deemed eligible for the Business Costs Assistance Program – Special Stream Car Wash Grant should have been paid. They should also be receiving eligible top-ups.
For workers adversely affected by the Victorian lockdown, they should also consider the COVID-19 Disaster Payment https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/covid-19-disaster-payment. It may be worthwhile for members to go through the application process and determine if your circumstances qualify you for payment.
As Australia’s vaccination rate now seems to have gained some momentum, I think I join everyone in looking forward to the days ahead when bulletins like this one are no longer necessary.
Neil Fox, ACWA President